MPhA News

Small Doses

August 4, 2017
Breaking News
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

Breaking News

White House Opioid Panel Urges President to Declare State of Emergency

From Scientific American, Aug. 1: The White House’s commission on battling the opioid epidemic has recommended that President Trump declare a federal state of emergency to address the crisis. The commission released an interim report on July 31.

Governors in Florida, Arizona and Maryland have already declared states of emergency, granting those governments access to millions of dollars and, in some cases, regulatory leeway in administering their responses. The White House issued a statement saying review of the interim report would begin immediately. Read the full article.

FDA Reauthorization Act Heads to President after Senate Passage

From Drug Store News, Aug. 3, and news sources: The U.S. Senate voted 94-1 on Aug. 3 to pass the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act of 2017. The bill now goes to President Trump to be signed into law; the U.S. House passed the bill in June. The bill contains the reauthorization of the FDA’s Prescription Drug, Biosimilar, and Generic Drug User Fee Acts. It allows the FDA to continue collecting fees from drug companies to review new product applications.

“Working together, House and Senate Republicans and Democrats brought forth a bill to reauthorize these important programs, putting patients first and their hope for new treatments within reach,” said Senate Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.); ranking member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.); Health Subcommittee chairman Dr. Michael Burgess (R-Texas); and Health Subcommittee ranking member Gene Green (D-Texas).“This bill is a win for patients and the millions of Americans working to develop our next generation of cures and therapies. We applaud the Senate’s swift action in passing this vital bill, and urge President Trump to sign it into law.”

The bill’s passage immediately drew praise from the industry, including the president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The existing law expires on Sept. 30. Read the full article.

Minnesota News

COP Dean Marilyn Speedie Honored

Many MPhA members joined faculty, staff and students of the University of Minnesota at an event to honor College of Pharmacy Dean Marilyn Speedie. Dean Speedie’s last day as dean was July 31.

To see more photos from the event, visit the MPhA Facebook page.

Board of Pharmacy Opening for Pharmacy Surveyor

Deadline for Application: August 7

Due to a retirement, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy has an opening for a Pharmacy Surveyor (aka Inspector). Job duties include: Conduct onsite inspections of pharmacies, drug manufacturers, drug wholesalers, medical gas distributors, and controlled substance research facilities to ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules and standards of practice. During inspections, the employee will work with facility personnel to develop a plan to bring the facility into compliance with laws, rules and standards of practice, as necessary. The employee will complete inspection reports and will notify the Board’s Deputy Director or Executive Director of any serious violations. Read the full position description. (Once there, go to the search page and enter “pharmacy” in the search field.)

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. There are enough programs in the archives to earn your entire 2-year pharmacist CE requirement — at no cost!

Registration Fees

  • FREE for MPhA Members, including Pharmacy Technicians, students and residents
  • $25 per person per webinar for Non-members

National News

With ACA Repeal Efforts Stalled, What Is Next?

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, July 30, and news sources: Following the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass any proposal to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration that it is “time to move on,” there may be support to take action on other issues, particularly those with bipartisan support.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) made a floor speech that covered the need to pursue a bipartisan approach to fixing the ACA, specifically addressing PBMs and his C-THRU legislation to help control drug costs. Here is a link to his speech (comments on prescription drugs start at about the 20:10 mark).

NCPA has and will continue to engage lawmakers on the importance of preserving access to prescription medication and pharmacy services. Senate Republicans' years-long push to repeal the ACA is stalled for now and could possibly put the short-term focus back on HHS and the Trump administration, which again face looming decisions about the fate of the ACA markets.

Submit an Abstract for APhA 2018 Annual Meeting

Submit your abstract to take part in one of the most anticipated pharmacy educational programs of the year. Join APhA in Nashville, March 16-19, 2018 as thousands gather to attend APhA2018.

As a presenting author, you will maximize your networking potential, become a published author and engage the pharmacy community as a thought leader. Submitted abstracts must pertain to pharmacy practice and pharmacy-focused research. Submissions may include the findings of original research on issues relevant to practicing pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, or reports on the implementation of a new idea or strategy for the delivery of patient care. The deadline is October 4, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EDT/10:59 p.m. CDT. For complete details on the submission process, visit the APhA2018 website.

PCMA and NCPA Provide Research on DIR Fees

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, July 30: The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association's (PCMA) research paper suggesting that accounting for fees on pharmacies at the point-of-sale would increase Medicare costs is based on dubious assumptions. NCPA believes this is just another in a long line of studies the PBM trade group has cobbled together to try to validate their practice of charging pharmacies unpredictable after-the-transaction DIR fees.

These fees not only hinder independent pharmacies' ability to know whether or not they'll break even on a transaction, but they also can push Medicare patients more quickly into the Medicare donut hole. This also pushes patients into the catastrophic phase of coverage where the government takes on the lion's share of the costs. Here are shortcomings of the report:

  • The report fails to account for the federal savings that the federal government would realize by eliminating retroactive DIR — particularly by lowering the amount Medicare spends on low-income cost sharing (LICS) and federal reinsurance spending.
  • The report neglects to clearly state the considerable patient benefits inherent in eliminating retroactive DIR. Patients would realize lower out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter. Current post-point of sale DIR arrangements only favor beneficiaries who enroll in Part D plans without using them.
  • The focus of PCMA's "study" is the effect of eliminating all manufacturer rebates and pharmacy price concessions — as opposed to simply applying those amounts at the point of sale. When applied at point of sale — which is exactly what the NCPA-supported legislation would do — savings would be provided not only to the federal government but also consumers/taxpayers.
  • This report reveals that "PDPs and their PBMs also negotiate significant POS price concessions with their network pharmacies typically in the form of a percentage discount off a known price benchmark such as the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC)." Unlike post-POS price concessions, these discounts can be determined at the time a prescription is dispensed. At the present time, PDPs and their PBMs are indeed deducting these amounts from pharmacy reimbursement but NOT at the point of sale. PDPs and their PBMs are clawing back these amounts from pharmacies after the point of sale and presumably reporting these amounts as DIR in direct violation of federal guidance.

Here is the report.

MPhA Events

Join Us at the 2017 MPhA Annual Learning Networking Event & MTM Symposium!

Chart Your Course for Change with MPhA, September 7-8 in St. Paul

Join your colleagues at this peer-designed event, which will allow to you create an agenda for your practice and professional development. We have an excellent line-up of speakers and topics! Here are just a few highlights from our MTM Symposium Track:

  • Kristi Melby, PharmD, LADC, CTTS, Genesis Recovery Services, LLC: Becoming an Addiction Specialist Pharmacist
  • Jean Moon, PharmD, BCACP, University of Minnesota, and Gardner Lepp, PhD, University of Minnesota: Precepting Millennials
  • Heidi Burres, PharmD, BCACP, Fairview Specialty Services Pharmacy, and Brittany Symonds, PharmD, BCACP, Fairview Pharmacy Services: Minimally Disruptive Medicine
  • Amy Busker, PharmD, CGP, Fairview Pharmacy Services: Depression in Elderly Patients
  • Lisa Krohn, PharmD, BCACP, Park Nicollet Health Services: COPD Update

Register Online

Register Now for August 16 Virtual Coffee Break Webinar

Flu Vaccine Guidance for Minnesota Pharmacists

In this one-hour webinar on Wednesday, August 16, we will learn about new influenza recommendations and refresh knowledge of the basics of giving flue vaccine. Jennifer Heath, DNP, MPH, RN, from the Minnesota Department of Health will present essential information to prepare for the 2017-2018 influenza season and answer your questions related to providing flu vaccine.

Read more

August 16, 2017 • Online Webinar
FREE for all MPhA Members • Non-member cost: $25 per person

Register Online

Did You Know?

What Do Minnesota Voters Think of Pharmacies?

From National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, July 15: People trust pharmacies for answers in times of need. Now, with Congress facing tough questions about the Affordable Care Act and other health care issues, America’s pharmacists are ready to help. A new Public Opinion Dashboard from the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) shows data for the entire U.S. as well as for each state.

The dashboard shows that nearly 90% of Minnesota voters say pharmacies are easy to access. More than 75% of voters in Minnesota have visited a pharmacy in the past 12 months. The dashboard also shows high levels of trust in pharmacists’ sharing information about how to save money on prescriptions. It’s all great information to share with your U.S. Senator or Congressional Representative during this month's Congressional recess.