Working Together to Advance Pharmacy Practice
By Lynda Welage, PharmD, FCCP, Dean, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past several years, the College of Pharmacy has worked with the Minnesota Pharmacists Association and the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists on the Pharmacy Advocacy Task Force (PATF) to seek legislative changes to the Pharmacy Practice Act that will allow pharmacists in Minnesota to practice to the limits of their education.
The task force has been successful in getting changes passed in previous legislative sessions, including several important pharmacy-related provisions in the 2014 Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill, and expanding immunization authority for pharmacists in 2015.
More recently, the PATF has continued our work to expand patient access to care. We have several initiatives that we hope will be addressed during the 2018 legislative session, including allowing pharmacists to prescribe:
- The opiate antagonist naloxone: Currently, the
ability of pharmacists to prescribe naloxone varies
across the country. A recent study found that the
most common reason for naloxone rescue kits
(NRK) prescription was a patient, family or friend
request (56.4%). The data suggest that patients
or family of at-risk patients might feel more
comfortable requesting NRKs from pharmacists,
thus increasing the direct access to NRKs
for at-risk patients. About 43% of the NRKs were
dispensed based on the pharmacist’s identifying
patients at risk for an overdose. This supports
the idea that pharmacists play an important
role in reducing overdose deaths and educating
the community on opioid abuse and naloxone use.
- Hormonal contraceptives: In Minnesota in 2010,
the federal and state governments spent $332.6
million on unintended pregnancies; of this, $203.9
million was paid by the federal government and
$128.7 million was paid by the state. The total
public costs for unintended pregnancies in 2010
was $318 per woman aged 15–44 in Minnesota,
compared with $201 per woman nationally.
Increasing the scope of pharmacists to prescribe
oral hormonal contraceptives can increase access
of care to many patients, and help reduce
the negative effects of unintended pregnancies
on an individual and community level by removing
unnecessary and inefficient barriers.
- Tobacco cessation treatment: According to the
Minnesota Department of Health, smoking causes
5,900 deaths and over $2.5 billion in medical
costs every year in Minnesota. A study found
that community pharmacist intervention led to a
12.7% increase in smoking cessation rates
through interventions related to nicotine
- Travel medications: International tourists are
estimated to reach 1.6 billion by 2020, with an
increasing proportion visiting the developing
world. Providing Minnesota pharmacists with
the ability to prescribe medications according
to the CDC for travel abroad would enhance
access to recommended medications and be a
practical convenience for thousands of
Minnesotans. It would also will help Minnesotans
stay healthy while traveling and returning home.
Travel medications include vaccines, medications
for traveler’s diarrhea and malaria prevention.
Being new to Minnesota and the PATF, I am very pleased to see the professional organizations working together, along with our college, to accomplish what is best for patients and the profession. I know that by working together, we can accomplish many great things and help empower all Minnesota pharmacists to best serve their patients.
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