Sponsor of chain pharmacy expansion ban says bill would not limit competition

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The sponsor of legislation that would bar new chain pharmacies that are not headed by a pharmacist says the bill will not limit competition or stop supermarkets and discounters from opening new stores.

The bill has passed the Senate. While it is now in a House committee, opponents that include supermarkets and pharmacy chains, are not ruling out the possibility of the bill’s passage in this session.

The bill is modeled after legislation passed in North Dakota in the 1960s.

“A simple google search indicate that large grocery and discount stores (Albertson’s, Walmart, among others), all operate in North Dakota,” State Sen. Anthony DelCollo, R-Elsmere, wrote in an Email responseto questions about the bill. “The proposal we are contemplating is modeled after the ND requirements, which have been in place since the 1960s. If this claim were true, then I don’t think that such stores would be operating in the ND market.”

As for the need for pharmacies in big box stores, DelCollo wrote that he has “heard in conversations with folks in this industry that, to the contrary, pharmacies are not alwaysprofit centers but in some instances loss leaders.”

DelCollo also discounted the possibility that shell companies headed by pharmacists but bankrolled by chains could get around the law’s provisions.

“North Dakota has the most independent pharmacies per capita and also more pharmacy access than surrounding jurisdictions. So, while such a thing may be possible, I also think that it is very possible and likely given the ND example that this will also create space and room for independents to grow in Delaware thus limiting the ability of PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers) to own pharmacies, engage in vertical monopolies, and control the flow of commerce in way that are unhelpful to consumers.

He concluded, “Finally, there is a strong case to be made that such a change would benefit existing small and medium-sized Delaware businesses by limiting unfair competition and trade practices that often work to extinguish small businesses and even mid-sized locally owned entities.”

Click on the link below for the earlier story on the bill:

Bill that bars expansion by most chain pharmacies and might keep Wegmans out of state passes Senate

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