Letter to the editor: Thrifty White unlike other national retailersI have read letters about the Pharmacy Ownership Law. The letters often say something like “The Board of Pharmacy being disingenuous because there are corporate pharmacies such as CVS and Thrifty White operating in the state.”
By: Dave Rueter, Buffalo, Minn., The Jamestown Sun
I have read letters about the Pharmacy Ownership Law. The letters often say something like “The Board of Pharmacy being disingenuous because there are corporate pharmacies such as CVS and Thrifty White operating in the state.”
I work in the personnel department for Thrifty White Pharmacy and would like to respond to the thought that our presence in the state is somehow “disingenuous.” The state Legislature was concerned about preserving access to pharmacy service in this rural state. In 1963 the law was passed to require that pharmacists own 51 percent of each pharmacy. Osco Drug (now CVS) had a handful of pharmacies in the state at that time and it was allowed to continue operation in those communities.
Thrifty White is unlike national retailers. It is 100 percent owned by its employees. Pharmacy accounts for 95 percent of the company’s sales. The majority of its board of directors is comprised of North Dakota registered pharmacists. This ensures that the professional concerns of pharmacy practice are always considered when directing the company’s activities. Thrifty White is a small chain with a direct focus on rural markets, operating pharmacies in rural towns like Grafton, Cavalier, Mohall, Rolette, Maddock, Ashley and Hettinger.
The majority of the Trustee Committee for the Employee Stock Ownership Program is also made up of North Dakota registered pharmacists. This ownership means that there are no outside investors to push profit and growth at the expense of professional pharmacy service. Because the employees of the company share in the ownership they also share in company profits. This keeps the economic impact dollars in North Dakota rather than sending them out of state to a large corporation’s shareholders concerned only about profits and a return on their investment.
The ownership law does not prevent Wal-Mart, Walgreens or other national retailers from having a pharmacy in their stores. It just requires that a North Dakota pharmacist own the majority of the pharmacy to ensure that professional issues receive equal footing with the business issues.
Thrifty White’s focus on rural pharmacy and pharmacist control sets it apart from the national retailers. The large chains are allowed to operate pharmacies in the state if they also comply with the North Dakota law as Thrifty White has done.