Help Us Explain Why Drug Importation Is the Wrong Answer to High Prescription Prices
A few weeks ago, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced S. 771, the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act. So far, 15 Senators (including Sen. Amy Klobuchar) have signed on as co-sponsors. While we applaud the intent of the bill and agree that many life-saving prescriptions are priced beyond the reach of average consumers, MPhA and national pharmacy associations such as the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) encourage our Senators to find alternatives to importation. We encourage you to join the letter-writing campaign by filling out a quick online form or by contacting Senators Franken and Klobuchar by phone or email.
APhA sent a letter to Members of Congress, saying in part, “APhA appreciates ongoing congressional efforts to gather input from stakeholders on issues related to drug importation for incorporation into existing or future legislation. Although APhA supports efforts to increase patients’ access to appropriate, safe, effective, and affordable prescription medications, we believe proposals to legalize importation of non-FDA approved drugs is in direct conflict with recent efforts by Congress and federal agencies to increase the integrity and security of the U.S. drug supply. Moreover, obtaining safe and effective medications is only one part of appropriate medication use. It also requires a health practitioner’s knowledge of the patient’s complete medication profile and an understanding by the patient of how to take the medications, side effects and/or potential interactions — all of which could be negatively affected by importation proposals.”
Minnesota Legislature Heads into Conference Committee Process
The Minnesota Legislature returned from spring break on Tuesday, April 18, and has begun the conference committee process. Pharmacy Advocacy Task Force Lobbyist Buck Humphrey reports that the Republican-controlled legislature is likely to negotiate in good faith with the governor on each omnibus budget bill. As one sign of this cooperation, Gov. Dayton’s designees will be included in the conference committee negotiations.
Humphrey goes on to state that one unknown piece of the puzzle is what, if any, tax reduction legislation will pass or will play into final budget negotiations. The governor’s modest tax cut proposal and the House/Speaker Daudt’s proposal have a difference of $1 billion. All indications are that neither Gov. Dayton nor Republican legislative leaders want a government shutdown. Compared to 2011, the last time a shutdown occurred (when the state faced a sizable deficit), Minnesota has a budget surplus of more than $1.6 billion. Humphrey encourages MPhA members to read a MinnPost article and/or an article from Forum News Services about what could happen this year as the legislature moves closer to adjournment.
News From MPhA
Registration Open Now for MPhA’s 2017 Leadership Summit and House of Delegates Event
Come join Minnesota pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for a day of inspiration, information, influence building and crafting MPhA’s policy agenda at the 2017 MPhA Leadership Summit and House of Delegates meeting on Tuesday, June 20, at Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville, Minn. Themed, “Building Influence to Advance Patient Care & Practice,” the program is open to all members and non-members, in addition to those who will serve as delegates to the MPhA House of Delegates meeting. Non-delegates are welcome to stay and observe the policy deliberations that will lay the groundwork for MPhA’s policy agenda for the next year. MPhA is seeking delegates and you will be asked if you are willing to serve and for which constituency during the registration process. MPhA will strive to assign delegates to their desired constituency but retains the right to assign delegates as needed to ensure all groups are represented.
Inspirational Education Program
MPhA’s 2017-2018 President-Elect Jason Varin, PharmD, will kick off the event with an inspiring TED-type talk, “Pharmacists Making a Difference.” Then you’ll build your strategic communication skills as Lara Kerwin, PharmD, provides an interactive 75-minute workshop with the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society. You'll learn tips for communicating in crucial moments and put these tips into practice so you can advance your professional agenda. MPhA Board member Amanda Brummel, PharmD, BCACP, will provide insights in the evolving world of value-based payment models and what that means for pharmacists as members of the health care team. Then Southern Prairie Community Care’s Executive Director Liz Cinqueonce and Integrated Care Program Manager Wendy Augeson, MSN, RN, will share the exciting way care teams are being formed across institutions and organizations to meet the health care needs of Minnesotans in the communities they live. The day’s program will offer 3.25 hours of Minnesota Board of Pharmacy approved continuing education.
What Is MPhA’s Future?
Next you’ll turn your attention to Minnesota Pharmacy’s 2017-2018 advocacy agenda, MPhA’s advocacy work and outcomes from the Minnesota Legislative Session as a backdrop to the afternoon’s policy-making process. You will also learn the State of MPhA from MPhA President Molly Ekstrand and Treasurer Doug Lobdell, RPh. Speaker of the House Kati Dvorak and Vice Speaker Tony Olson will guide us through the business of creating MPhA policy in the House of Delegates in the afternoon, under the guidance of parliamentarian Terry Hietpas. We will end our afternoon installing the 2017-2018 leaders and recognizing outgoing leadership while MPhA President Michelle Aytay provides her thoughts on leadership and advocacy for the coming year.
Celebrate and Network
We’ll celebrate the day’s successes in a networking reception honoring MPhA Leadership and Past Presidents. It will be a great way to engage with your colleagues to learn, network and create an advocacy agenda for MPhA and yourself!
The registration fee for the event is $45 for MPhA members, $60 for MPhA non-members and $20 for student pharmacists and includes breakfast, lunch and reception appetizers. Register now!
Nominate a Friend or Colleague Today for MPhA Awards and Recognition
The Minnesota Pharmacists Association frequently hears of pharmacy professionals who go above and beyond the call of duty. Help us recognize these pharmacy leaders and inspirations by nominating a pharmacist or pharmacy technician for one of our awards. Nominations are now open.
Read the full award descriptions.
See a list of past recipients.
Nomination form(s) and letters of support must be submitted to the MPhA office by Friday, June 16.
MPhA Elections Update
Thank you to those who participated in the recent Minnesota Pharmacists Association Board of Directors ballot. Balloting closes at Noon today, April 21. We will share the results soon!
Minnesota Makes it Easier to Get Naloxone at Pharmacies
On April 14, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) held a press conference to announce details of new rules that allow pharmacists across the state to provide naloxone (brand name Narcan) without a doctor’s prescription. “We are encouraging people who are concerned about their opiate use or that of someone close to them to keep naloxone on hand in case of emergency,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger.
MDH and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy have been working with local public health officials and pharmacists across the state to implement a new state law that was passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2016 and went into effect on Jan. 1 this year. There are still barriers to easy access to naloxone because of the way collaborative practice agreements are being implemented — which is why the Pharmacy Advocacy Task Force continues to push for pharmacist prescribing of naloxone.
While that is the case, “Getting naloxone from a pharmacy is an option that may prevent a tragedy and be more comfortable and convenient for some people,” said Cody Wiberg, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. “But the Board encourages people to also seek out care from medical, mental and/or chemical health providers.”
Read the full news release
Randall Seifert Receives Weaver Medal
MPhA Past President and U of M College of Pharmacy Senior Associate Dean Randall Seifert, PharmD, received his Weaver Medal award on April 19 at a ceremony in Minneapolis. Another reception will be held on April 26 in Duluth to honor Randy’s achievement. Congratulations, Randy, from the Minnesota Pharmacists Association!
Use Your Member Benefits
Complimentary On-Demand Virtual Coffee Break Webinars Available to MPhA Members
MPhA offers monthly educational webinars that provide you with education from experts on best practices, trends, effective solutions, and quality resources to help you advance your career as a pharmacy professional. E-learning is ideal for those who are unable to travel long distances for continuing education programs. The program provides opportunities to obtain CEs from the comfort of your home or office with both live and on-demand options. These webinars are free for MPhA members — another benefit of membership!
Technicians: Get a Discount on Power-Pak Continuing Education — Earn Your Board-Required CE with Unlimited Two-Year Access
MPhA has entered a partnership with Power-Pak, one of the nation’s leading providers of continuing education for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. MPhA pharmacy technician members receive a 12.5% discount off the Power-Pak CE Pharmacy Technician Library where you can earn your entire CE required by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy during the two-year access period.
Power-Pak’s pharmacy technician recertification courses were developed by educational specialists from Postgraduate Healthcare Education, Power-Pak C.E. in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges of pharmacy. The objectives for each T-designated course align with the core competencies listed in PTCB's Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination Blueprint. So if you are a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) these resources will allow you to meet your PTCB CE requirements as well.
Normally the two-year access fee is $39.95. There are more than 20 activities across topics from patient safety and new drugs to pharmacy calculations and drug storage. There are also live Webinars every month.
MPhA pharmacy technician members are able to access the library for $34.95. In addition, MPhA pharmacy technician members will receive a discount for the Power-Pak MTM Certificate Training Course for Pharmacy Technicians — $24.95 rather than the $29.95 regular fee.
New NCPA Infographic on DIR Fees
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has created a new educational aid to help pharmacists explain how retroactive pharmacy DIR fees hurt Medicare patients and taxpayers. Download the one-page infographic.
Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Limit Opioid Prescriptions
From National Community Pharmacists Association Advocacy Center Update: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have introduced the Opioid Addiction Prevention Act of 2017 (S. 892). The legislation would require medical professionals to certify, as part of their registration with the DEA, that they won't prescribe an opioid as an initial treatment for acute pain in an amount that exceeds a seven-day supply, and won't provide a refill. This limit doesn't apply to treating chronic pain, pain being treated as part of cancer care, hospice or other end-of-life care, or pain treated as part of palliative care. One possible vehicle to move the bill forward is legislation to reauthorize the FDA’s user fee programs.
Grow Your Enhanced Services Revenue at Boot Camp, May 5-6
The Re-Engineering Your Pharmacy Boot Camp presented by NCPA’s Innovation Center is a jam-packed two-day training on the operations of an enhanced service business. Successful pharmacy owners share streamlined workflow, staff buy-in strategies, branding and more. Networking, training, and implementation support you need to take your pharmacy to the next level May 5-6 in the New York City metro area. Reserve your seat today!
MPhA Statewide Town Hall
Wednesday, April 26 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Save the Date!
2017 MPhA Annual Learning Networking Event
September 7–8, 2017 | St. Paul RiverCentre
Did You Know?
National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) Seeking Nominations for UpShot Awards
Exceptional individuals and organizations are at the heart of optimizing the vaccine and immunization enterprise. Recognize and celebrate their achievements by nominating them for the National Vaccine Program Office UpShot Awards — a distinguished award honoring excellence in leadership, collaboration, innovation, practice, and research that advances the National Vaccine Plan! Nominations are due April 26, 2017. Learn more here.