MPhA News

Small Doses

January 4, 2019
News from MPhA
MPhA Events
National News
Minnesota News

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Engaged Participation at Pharmaceutical Care Lyceum

Pharmaceutical Care Lyceum Participants

The Pharmaceutical Care Lyceum, inspired by the Deep Portage Pharmaceutical Care Conference hosted for several years by the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Peters Institute of Pharmaceutical Care and then by Medication Management Systems, is underway in Deep Portage, Minn with sixty participants! A group of  Minnesota pharmaceutical care practitioners hoping to revive the spirit and intent of Deep Portage in partnership with the Minnesota Pharmacists Association reflects MPhA’s mission. The event provides an opportunity to develop, collaborate, and reflect on the concept of building bridges to strengthen patient care.

Do you have news to share about MPhA members and their achievements? Help us spread the news about the good work that our members are doing across Minnesota! Send material to Communication Director Laurie Pumper at

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Minnesota News

Minnesota’s Legislative Session Begins Next Week!

The only split-party Legislature in the nation will begin Tuesday, January 8th, 2019.   Minnesota’s 91st Legislature must complete their work by midnight on May 21st.  The odd-year session will primarily be focused on adopting the 2020-2021 biennial budget. In addition, Governor-elect Walz will be sworn into office on January 7th.  The incoming Governor will give his State of the State Address in late January and must present his budget to the Legislature by mid-February. 

Governor Dayton will leave Governor-elect Walz with a budget surplus of more than $1.544 billion for the 2020-2021 biennium.  In addition to the budget surplus, the state’s budget reserves are now at a record setting $2.075 billion, following a statutory transfer from the budget surplus of $491 million.  The state’s economic advisors suggest Minnesota’s long-term economic outlook remains sound.  However, the state will face slower long-term growth than had previously been projected. Current economic indicators project the state will have a $456 million surplus in the 2022-2023 biennium.

Beyond setting the biennial budget, the Walz Administration and Minnesota Legislature will attempt to address a handful of more complex policy and financial issues.  The larger issues, while not limited to the following, will most likely include federal tax conformity, transportation funding  and opioids.

Legislative Activity

The House DFL has announced their committee structure and chairs, and right before the Holidays released the complete list of House Committee Membership along with an updated committee schedule. House Committee Membership and Schedule

The Minnesota Senate has also made changes to Committee Chairs and Membership.  The biggest change will be Senator Jeremy Miller moving into the role of Senate President and relinquishing his Chairmanship of the Senate Jobs, Economic Growth Policy and Finance Committee. Senator Eric Pratt will be taking over the Jobs Committee Chairmanship from Senator Miller.  Senator Pratt’s E-12 Policy Committee will be merged with the Senate E-12 Finance Committee creating a new E-12 Policy and Finance Committee, Chaired by Senator Carla Nelson the current E-12 Finance Committee Chair.  In a rare move, a freshman member of the Senate will be assuming the Chairmanship of a major committee.   Senator Paul Anderson will be taking over as chair of the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee.  This change became necessary when the Chairmanship was vacated by the resignation of Senator Fischbach.  According to Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, the Senate has also made a handful of changes to their committee membership which is available in their recently updated Senate Election Directory.  2018 Senate Election Directory/Revised Committee Membership.

National News

NCPA Action Alert: Weigh in Now on Pharmacy DIR Fees!

From NCPA: Amid a number of proposed Part D policy changes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' recently proposed rule, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses, CMS-4180-P, features critical reform of Part D pharmacy price concessions, also known as direct and indirect remuneration or DIR fees.

Under the current system, pharmacy benefit managers – the middlemen hired by plan sponsors to administer prescription drug benefits – often claw back fees from pharmacies well after a transaction. Those fees, called direct and indirect remuneration, are often unpredictable and seemingly unconnected to a pharmacy's performance related to adherence and other standards. The fees also disadvantage patients, who are assessed a higher cost-share against their Part D deductible rather than the retroactive, lower adjusted price. The result is to push patients more quickly into the so-called Part D donut hole, at which point the patient is responsible for a considerably larger portion of their prescription drug costs.

The proposal in the rule would require all price concessions from pharmacies to be accounted for in the "negotiated" price. The only price adjustments that could be made retroactively would be additional incentive payments made to the pharmacy by the plan. The proposal will give pharmacy owners greater clarity about their reimbursement under Medicare Part D at the time a medication is dispensed.

For Part D beneficiaries, the proposal will lower the negotiated price of a medication, which will lower patients' out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter for medicines purchased with a co-insurance component. That, in turn, will slow patients' progression toward the Part D donut hole, at which point the patient is responsible for a much higher percentage of prescription drug costs.

This proposal reflects the relentless work of NCPA and its pharmacy partners to bring the problem of DIR fees to the attention of policymakers. Those efforts include a succession of meetings with administration officials, legislators, and key staffers; joint stakeholder letters; and pharmacist grassroots mobilization. In fact, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma singled out the work of community pharmacy on this issue in a joint blog post about the proposed rule, noting that "Independent pharmacies have raised concerns that back-end deals with health insurance plans are eroding competition and making it harder for them to continue providing medications to beneficiaries."

The DIR language in this proposed rule presents the best opportunity to date to address pharmacy DIR fees, and there is widespread support in the pharmacy community for it, including from retail chains and specialty pharmacies. It is vital that the pharmacy community as a whole continue to speak with a coordinated and unified voice to see that this proposal is finalized.

Use the resources below to help spread the word about the DIR provisions in the proposed drug pricing rule. And don't forget to send comments on the rule to CMS. We've made it easy via NCPA's grassroots portal.

Comment on the CMS proposal HERE.

MPhA Events

Register Now! 2019 Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

February 5, 2019 • Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, St. Paul

Are you ready to make a difference to advocate for your professional interests and for pharmacy’s interests to advance patient care? Come to Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day and learn how! 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!

Friend of Pharmacy Rep. Roz Peterson (R-56B) will open the day with insights from her decade serving as a legislator and interacting with colleagues as she moved pharmacy and other issues forward. Roz will provide a view from the inside of the Capitol and share tips for how to engage with your legislator for the maximum impact. We’ll celebrate her achievements as she is bestowed with the Friend of Pharmacy Award from the Minnesota pharmacy and retailer community.

Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day is the one annual event that represents the voice of all pharmacy settings in Minnesota for legislators, the governor and other policy makers! It is your opportunity to learn about the issues, gain the tools you need to advocate, and network with colleagues and the policymakers who will be supporting pharmacy’s issues. The day will feature a morning session, afternoon at the Capitol and an evening networking reception and program, complete with meals throughout the day and more than 5 hours of continuing education! This year we are back on the Capitol grounds at the Best Western Capitol Ridge with complimentary parking and within an easy walk of all your meetings.

The Minnesota Pharmacy Alliance, MPhA, MSHP, the Minnesota Retailers Association and the Minnesota Grocers Association look forward to seeing you there!

Register Online

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break: Pharmacists’ Role in Public Health — Battling STIs

January 16, 2019 • Online Webinar

In this multidisciplinary, collaborative presentation, we will discuss Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) and its use as a public health tool in fighting bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates. EPT is recommended by the CDC and is allowed by the state of Minnesota. We will discuss successes and opportunities for pharmacy and pharmacists to support this proven intervention.

Register Online


Our speakers will be Daniel Jude, PharmD, clinical pharmacy specialist with TrellisRx, and Candy Hadsall, RN, MA, with the Minnesota Department of Health.

Registration Fees

The cost is $25 for non-members. MPhA pharmacist members, pharmacy technician members and student members may attend at no cost.

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

February 20

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break on Medication Recycling
Online Webinar

March 20

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break on Risk Reduction
Online Webinar

April 4

MSHP/MPhA Joint CE Town Hall
St. Cloud Area

May 6-9, 2019

U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation Conference

June 12, 2019

MPhA Leadership Summit and House of Delegates Meeting
Midland Hills Country Club, St. Paul