MPhA News

Small Doses

January 19, 2018
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

MPhA Members Fight Addiction through Education

From a report by KBJR-TV, Duluth, Jan. 11: At the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy, tackling opioid addiction in the community starts in the classroom, a big change from Assistant Professor Laura Palombi's education as she entered the field.

"For a long time we educated that pain was a vital sign and that we needed to make sure that everybody was treated with pain more than adequately and we didn't realize the potential that existed with opioids for addiction," she said.

Now, alongside fellow professor Heather Blue, Palombi's research has turned toward substance abuse prevention, and ways medical providers can better serve the community. Read the full article.

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

Minnesota News

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith Joins Rural Health Caucus

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) has joined the Senate Rural Health Caucus. Smith said, “It will give me an additional avenue to help fight to lower the cost of health care, combat the opioid crisis, and address the needs that rural communities face when it comes to finding affordable, high-quality care—a serious challenge for a lot of communities in Minnesota.”

Public Comments on the Next Generation of Integrated Health Partnerships

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has posted the responses received to its request for comment on the next generation of Integrated Health Partnerships. The department received 71 responses from individuals and organizations on the proposed reform initiative to expand the successful Integrated Health Partnerships program. Read the responses.

The feedback from the community will help build the best possible program. DHS staff are excited about the level of engagement and interest shown in the initiative and will thoughtfully analyze the responses, using the information to support the development of the model. Staff anticipate the review process to take MDH into the beginning of February. Project timelines will shift accordingly.

Use Your Member Benefits

Are Efforts to Control Opioid Addiction Fueling an Increase in Pharmacy Crime?

From Pharmacists Mutual’s Risk Management Newsletter: Despite aggressive measures to control the problem of opioid addiction, the rate of addiction continues to grow at an alarming rate. In the past five years, Pharmacists Mutual has seen a 62% increase in burglary and robbery at pharmacies. Learn more about the problem and what your pharmacy can do to minimize your risk of being a crime target. Read the full article.

Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company offers Risk Management Newsletter as a service to its customers.

In addition, MPhA Leadership Residents Stephanie Swanson and Natalie Roy have created a Minnesota Opioid Toolkit on the MPhA website.

National News

Opioid Epidemic Roundup

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 12: The Senate HELP Committee heard testimony from Sam Quinones, journalist and author of the influential book Dreamland. He discussed prescribing practices, insurance coverage affecting access to non-opioid pain management and the importance of funding research and local programs. Senators discussed these and additional issues including opioid prescription limits and re-setting any patient expectations to be completely pain-free following treatment.

In addition, a Jan. 17 hearing of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee examined CMS efforts to utilize data to identify individuals in the Medicare Part D program who are at risk to abuse opioids, as well as the tools that CMS has available to prevent individuals from receiving unnecessary opioids. A reminder that Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith is a member of the HELP committee.

FDA Makes Labeling Changes for Prescription Cough and Cold Medicines Containing Codeine or Hydrocodone

From FDA Safety Announcement, Jan. 11: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring safety labeling changes for prescription cough and cold medicines containing codeine or hydrocodone to limit the use of these products to adults 18 years and older because the risks of these medicines outweigh their benefits in children younger than 18. The FDA is also requiring the addition of safety information about the risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose, death, and slowed or difficult breathing to the Boxed Warning of the drug labels for prescription cough and cold medicines containing codeine or hydrocodone.

Read full Safety Announcement

State Regulators Urged to Investigate CVS Caremark Reimbursement Cuts & Solicitation Letters as Part of Aetna Review

From The Capitol Forum, Jan. 12: Independent pharmacists are urging state insurance regulators — as part of their reviews of the CVS/Aetna merger — to examine CVS Health’s recent move to slash smaller rivals’ prescription reimbursements and then offer to buy their stores.

The reimbursement cuts, some of which involved drugs used to treat digestive illnesses and other chronic conditions, occurred around October 25—five weeks before the December 3 Aetna deal announcement, a dozen independent pharmacists said. The cuts affected pharmacies in a number of states, including Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin. “The reimbursement rates in question are established using aggregate information from wholesalers, third party sources and marketplace intelligence and are subject to change frequently,” a CVS spokesperson said, as part of a longer statement. Download the full article.

MPhA Events

Join Us Next Week: Twin Cities Town Hall on 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. The panelists include (in alphabetical order): Susan Cooper, Pharmacist, HealthPartners, Senior Director of Pharmacy Plan Services; Julie Freeman, Pharmacist, Cub Pharmacy, St Louis Park; Dave Hoang, PharmD. MBA, Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy Administration, MN DHS; Laura Odell, Pharmacist, Mayo Health Solutions, Self-Insured Employer Group, involved with Managed Care; and Amanda Robinson, Pharmacy Technician Patient Access Services Manager at Fairview Pharmacy Services. 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 by February 1 for Discount on Midwest Pharmacy Expo

February 16-18, 2018 • Des Moines, Iowa

The 2018 Midwest Pharmacy Expo kicks off on Friday, Feb. 16, with Clinically Intensive Workshops. The day features 6.5 hours’ worth of high-level clinical CPE designed for pharmacists with advanced certifications or who want to be clinically challenged.

Saturday features three CPE tracks (Current Headlines, Optimizing Medication Use, and Cardiology) over five sessions. Mix and match to fit your practice setting, expertise or curiosity! Saturday’s program also includes a keynote from Jacques Turgeon, BPharm, PhD, chief scientific officer at Tabula Rasa Healthcare. The Expo wraps up on Sunday with a New Drug Update, Gamechangers and a timely session with Don McGuire, RPh, JD, from Pharmacists Mutual on minimizing risks as the roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians continue to expand.

Join us for these and a weekend full of high quality live CPE and plenty of networking opportunities with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and student pharmacists from across the Midwest! See the full agenda and register today!

Register Now! Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 • Best Western Capitol Ridge, St. Paul

Make a difference to advocate for your professional interests and for pharmacy’s interests to advance patient care — come to Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day! Even if you have never talked with, called or written your legislators before, this event will give you the tools you need to do so! Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day is the one annual event that represents the voice of all pharmacy settings in Minnesota.

Learn about the issues, gain the tools you need to advocate, and network with colleagues and the policymakers who will support pharmacy issues. The day is broken into a morning session, afternoon at the Capitol and an evening reception and program, complete with meals throughout the day and more than 5 hours of continuing education! Best yet, this year’s event is right on the Capitol grounds at the Best Western Capitol Ridge with complimentary parking and within an easy walk of all your meetings.

Support MN Pharmacy Advocacy

Independent Pharmacy Conference 2018

April 26-29, 2018 • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Discover solutions together at the Independent Pharmacy Conference — network with other independent pharmacy owners and managers, plus meet key vendor contacts and industry leaders. Learn and earn 9 continuing education credits with presentations on hot-button topics. This event is co-sponsored by Pace-IPC, the American Pharamacy Services Corporation, RxPlus Pharmacies, the Independent Pharmacy Alliance and other organizations. Visit for additional details and to register.

Eat Learn Gather

January 20, 2018 • St. Paul Student Center, University of Minnesota

SPH alumni, students and community members are invited to Eat Learn Gather, the Alumni Society's annual day of learning. Hear from experts in the field to learn about current hot topics in public health including mental health in the aftermath of disasters, the opioid crisis in Minnesota, and sexual health through a public health lens. This event is open to the public.

Read More

MTM Networking Event

January 31, 2018 • Utepils Brewing, Minneapolis

Is MTM part of your pharmacy practice? Or are you a pharmacy student who is interested in MTM? If so, join the MPhA’s MTM Academy for a networking event on Jan. 31. Mingle, learn what others are doing, learn about opportunities within the MPhA MTM Academy and share ideas in a warm, casual atmosphere. The event will be held at Utepils Brewery, 225 Thomas Ave. N., Minneapolis, beginning at 5 p.m. and concluding by 8 p.m. A round of Trivia Mania starts at 7:30 p.m. No registration is required — simply show up!

Interprofessional Conference on Health Care for Older Adults

March 1, 2018 • Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul, MN

It is projected that by the year 2050, the number of people age 65 and older in the U.S. will double from approximately 40 million to 80 million. As the number of older adults increases, more are living with chronic medical conditions requiring treatment with multiple medications. In addition, many older adults are faced with functional, psychosocial, and economic challenges. The goal of this conference is to enhance participant knowledge and competencies in providing care to older adults as part of the interprofessional team to improve health outcomes.

Registration Fees
General Admission: $150
Student: $50

Did You Know?

Raising Awareness of Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 12: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has addressed concern that buprenorphine, when used for the treatment of substance use disorder, is being erroneously used in the calculation of Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MME) to assess risk of opioid use disorder and overdose. The CDC guideline, in fact, made clear that dosage thresholds in the Guideline were not meant to and should not apply to dosing of opioid agonists/partial agonists used for the treatment of opioid use disorder. The CDC has further clarified this in a letter to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The American Medical Association (AMA) and ASAM are working together to share this information to ensure that all health care professions and other relevant stakeholders are aware of this.