MPhA News

Small Doses

December 15, 2017
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Laura Palombi among Speakers for Academy on Opioid Addiction

The University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics will present a Mini Bioethics Academy in Spring 2018, with a series of three seminars focused on the complexities presented by the current opioid epidemic in the U.S. Laura Palombi, PharmD, MPH, MAT, assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy in Duluth, will present one of the seminars. “Opioid Addiction in America: Leveraging Community Expertise” will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Get more information and RSVP.

Editor’s Note: During our Annual Learning Networking Event in September, MPhA made note of Mission Moments — those times when a member clearly exemplified our mission to advance patient care. As we move through the year, we will continue to showcase these Mission Moments as part of Small Doses. If you have an example to share, please send it to Laurie Pumper lauriep@mpha.org.

Minnesota News

Minnesota Rural Health Conference Needs Readers

Volunteers will help to read and score session proposals

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is looking for a “few good readers” to help read and score the session proposals that are submitted to the 2018 MN Rural Health Conference. Thank you to those who have already contacted MDH about their willingness to do so. The initial request for session proposals will be sent out soon and the deadline for submission is Friday, January 5. Your scores and notes are due by Monday, January 15.

MDH typically has people read and score proposals for one of the learning tracks:

  • Behavioral health
  • Supporting rural populations
  • Addressing social determinants of health
  • Workforce
  • Financial sustainability
  • Quality

If you’d like to participate, let Maria Rogness maria.rogness@state.mn.us at MDH know which track you’d like to read through (feel free to pick more than one track) and MDH will send you the online links to the scoring sheets January 8. You can do it all from your desk!


Input Needed: Birth Control Access in Pharmacies

From Women’s Health Practice and Research Network Research Group: We invite community pharmacists to participate in an online survey study of pharmacists in the United States regarding access to contraception in pharmacies. This study is being conducted by members of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Women’s Health Practice and Research Network. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

This survey is being administered by Integrated Business Services, Inc., an independent research firm. This survey is confidential. No personal identifiers will be collected and all results will be presented in aggregate form only. Additional details are available in the online survey.

To thank participants, there will be a drawing for an iPad Mini. You can enter the drawing upon completing the survey.

To participate, please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MPhAPharmacistSurvey

Use Your Member Benefits

Technicians: Get a Discount on Power-Pak Continuing Education — Earn Your Board-Required CE with Unlimited Two-Year Access

MPhA has 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.

National News

NCPA Testifies at Key Health Panel

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Dec. 8, and Pharmacy Today, a publication of the American Pharmacists Association, Dec. 13: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a Dec. 13 hearing entitled “Examining the Drug Supply Chain.” NCPA CEO Doug Hoey was scheduled to testify to share community pharmacists’ perspective. The hearing was intended to be an educational session to help lawmakers better understand the drug supply chain from end to end.

In addition, on Dec. 12 the Senate HELP Committee held the third in its series of hearings on prescription drug spending, with focus on a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). The NASEM report calls for the Department of Health & Human Services to negotiate drug prices and suggested HHS allow “selective exclusion” of certain drugs from formularies when less costly drugs could provide “similar clinical benefit.”


FDA Commissioner Discusses Compounding Pharmacies

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Dec. 8: At a consumer group event in Washington, Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the FDA will put forth new policies related to compounding pharmacy in early January. He described the agency as trying to achieve a “gradation of regulation” to better distinguish between smaller pharmacies compounding to meet local need from those engaged in “bulk, mass production.” In addition, testifying before the Senate HELP Committee, he expressed concern about the shortage of manufactured IV fluids because of the crisis in Puerto Rico and agreed that 503B compounding facilities could theoretically help mitigate the immediate shortage. However, he also noted, the manufacturing of plastic IV bags was also devastated by hurricane damage and limited the ability of 503B compounders to help.


Supplements Claiming to Ease Opioid Addiction Come Under Scrutiny

From New York Times, Dec. 9: The Center for Science in the Public Interest urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on businesses that target people addicted to opioids with products that make unproven claims. FDA has already zeroed in on the supplement kratom, warning that the product carries “deadly risks,” with about three dozen deaths linked to it. Read the full article.


FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Diabetes

From FDA News Release, Dec. 11: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Admelog (insulin lispro injection), a short-acting insulin indicated to improve control in blood sugar levels in adults and pediatric patients aged 3 years and older with type 1 diabetes mellitus and adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Admelog is the first short-acting insulin approved as a “follow-on” product (submitted through the agency’s 505(b)(2) pathway). Read the full news release.

MPhA Events

Register Now for Next Week's Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: Medicare Part D Enhanced MTM

Wednesday, December 20, 11:30 a.m. CST

Please join MPhA for another hot topic in a Virtual Coffee Break Webinar. Joshua Johnson, PharmD, RPh, will explain why CMS is offering stand-alone Part D plans the chance to innovate MTM, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes while driving down A & B medical costs. The BlueCross BlueShield Northern Plains Alliance is one of the plan participants in this 5-year pilot. Participants will be able to describe the CMS pilot; list the goals of CMS for the pilot; understand the medication risk stratification; amd describe the MedicareBlue Rx program.

About Our Speaker: Joshua Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Biology in 2004, and then went on to obtain his PharmD from Ferris State University in Michigan in 2008. Upon graduating, he returned to Minnesota where he practiced as a community pharmacist for 8 years, having already spent 3 years as a technician and 4 years as an intern in community pharmacy. In 2016, he was hired by ClearStone Solutions, a Part D Plan administrator, to run the 5-year CMS Enhanced MTM Pilot on behalf of the BlueCross BlueShield Northern Plains Alliance in Medicare Part D Region 25 (IA, MN, MT, ND, NE, SD, & WY). He has presented information on Enhanced MTM to national pharmacy organizations as well as several pharmacy schools within the 7 states of Region 25.

The Webinar is complimentary to MPhA members (including students and residents) thanks to an educational grant from CoverMyMeds.
Non-members are $25.


Register Now: Complexities of Prior Authorizations — A Panel Perspective

Wednesday, January 24, 5:30-8 p.m. • Continuing Education & Conference Center, University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus

Please join MPhA for a Town Hall on a very hot topic — prior authorizations. The cost of health care continues to rise faster than inflation. For many health plans, the cost of medications now exceeds inpatient costs. High priced and specialty drugs comprise more than 60% of the total pharmacy spend. Managed care provides a valuable and necessary service to contain health care costs. We all agree that we must keep health care affordable. When medications require prior authorizations through health plans or pharmacy benefit managers, patient care providers — including clinicians and pharmacists — are on the front lines.

Often they must deliver this message to their patients and begin a seemingly endless process of red tape. Pharmacies and clinics spend significant time and resources trying to navigate the prior authorization process. Emotions tend to run high on all sides of the issue. This panel discussion will convene key stakeholders willing to have open and honest dialogue about how we could improve this process for all. We will include time for audience-submitted questions/answers.

MPhA Past President Molly Ekstrand, RPh, BCACP, AE-C, MTM Program Lead at Park Nicollet, will moderate the panel. We will have heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. There will be time to network at the beginning of the event. You won’t want to miss this one!

Complimentary for Members
$25 for Non-members


Register Now for January Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: Establishing Telepharmacy Services

Wednesday, January 17, 11:30 a.m.

A telepharmacy is a remote pharmacy that provides pharmaceutical services to medically underserved communities who do not otherwise have access to a "brick-and-mortar" pharmacy. Please join MPhA for our January Virtual Coffee Break Webinar to learn how to establish a telepharmacy to help serve more patients. In this session, speaker Heather Bibeau will review the Minnesota laws and rules involved with establishing a telepharmacy, how to apply for a variance, and describe the provisions recommended in the Board of Pharmacy's Guidance Concerning Approval of Telepharmacies.

About Our Speaker: Dr. Heather Bibeau lives in rural Grand Rapids and is the director of Outpatient Pharmacy services alongside her twin sister, Dr. Sara Elioff, the director of Inpatient Pharmacy services at Bigfork Valley Hospital in Bigfork, Minn. Heather has a background in community and long-term care pharmacy practice. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology from the College of Saint Scholastica and her doctorate from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Duluth in 2010. She oversees participation in the 340B program as a contract pharmacy and the operation of three telepharmacies in rural Minnesota as the pharmacist-in-charge. She also serves as a consultant pharmacist for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Most recently, she held an at-large position on the board of the Minnesota Pharmacists Association and is an active member. She is also the coordinator of the Grand Rapids Area Pharmacists (GRAPh) group and provides educational opportunities to her peers.

The Webinar is complimentary to MPhA members (including students and residents) thanks to an educational grant from CoverMyMeds.

The cost is $25 for nonmembers.


Register Now: Midwest Pharmacy Expo

February 16-18, 2018 • Des Moines, IA

More than 16 hours of high-quality, live CPE are waiting for you at the 2018 Midwest Pharmacy Expo on February 16-18, 2018, in Des Moines. MPhA is among the eight state and regional pharmacy organizations that are collaborating to present this event — a portion of your registration will come back to MPhA.

Saturday’s 4 CPE tracks cover 5 sessions. The Optimizing Medication Use track covers a variety of patient care topics to help pharmacists in providing the best possible outcomes. Jacques Turgeon, BPharm, PhD, kicks off Expo Saturday with an insightful keynote focusing on using clinical decision support systems to better personalize therapy. Get all the updates on the Midwest Pharmacy Expo by following #RxExpo18 on Twitter.

Did You Know?

“Every Try Counts” When it Comes to Smoking Cessation

From U.S. Food & Drug Administration News Release, Dec. 12: Cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. Approximately 2 of 3 adult smokers say they would like to quit — but only 7% of those who tried to quit in 2015 were successful. FDA’s newest public education campaign, “Every Try Counts,” is aimed at encouraging cigarette smokers to quit through messages of support that underscore the health benefits of quitting. These messages will be displayed in and around gas stations or convenience stores – retail locations where smokers face a multitude of triggers and that typically feature cigarette advertisements. Get more information.