Jaeger approves pharmacy petition

BISMARCK–Advocates wanting to change North Dakota’s pharmacy ownership law will get another go at it in the coming year.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger has approved the pharmacy petition for circulation, a news release said. The initiated measure would amend state law by removing the requirement that an applicant for a permit to operate a pharmacy must be a licensed pharmacist, a business controlled or owned by licensed pharmacists, or a hospital pharmacy or postgraduate medical residency training program, the release said.

The sponsoring committee must gather at least 13,452 qualified signatures to place the measure on the ballot. 

A petition drive last year failed because organizers neglected to include a list of the measure’s sponsors when they circulated petitions.

Eric Thompson, a Bismarck physician, is serving as the spokesman for the group because he wants his patients to have access to discounted prescriptions from large retail chains, The Forum previously reported. 

 “I think the people of North Dakota will vote in favor for this archaic law to be repealed,” Thompson told The Forum earlier this month.

Pharmacists have defended the law, saying patient care is improved when the owner/manager has a pharmacist’s perspective.

To place the measure on the June 12 election ballot, the petitions with a sufficient number of signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state before midnight on March 14. 

The sponsoring committee has one year  to secure signatures.  If they do not meet the deadline for the June election, they must submit enough signatures by July 16, 2012, to have the issue placed on the November 2012 ballot.

State legislators defeated a bill earlier this year that would have changed the pharmacy ownership law.