MPhA News

Small Doses

March 22, 2019
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
National News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moments:

Palombi Will Receive Public Health Achievement Award

Dr. Laura Palombi of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy – Duluth will receive a 2019 Public Health Achievement Award from St. Louis County. Laura has partnered with the county on opioid overdose prevention and naloxone distribution for several years. The award will be presented during the county board meeting on April 2, during National Public Health Week.

MPSA Auction Event, May 3

The Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance (MPSA) is hosting its annual live and silent auction fundraiser on Friday, May 3, at the TCF Bank Stadium Indoor Club Room. The Silent Auction begins at 6:30 p.m. and the Live Auction will begin at 7:30 p.m. All the funds that are raised go directly toward the following school year’s funds/budget to support the professional development of students at the College of Pharmacy. There will be appetizers at the event as well as a cash bar. It is a speakeasy/1920s theme and it's encouraged to dress for the theme (not required, though). Anyone is invited to attend; entrance to the event for non-students is $20. Donations of auction items are also welcome! For more information, contact Kayla Kermode,

MPSA Partners with Wild Hockey for Fundraiser

The Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance (MPSA) is partnering with the Minnesota Wild for a hockey game on April 2. The Wild will give a discount for pharmacists, students, friends, family, and employer groups who buy tickets using this link for the game. The Wild will play the Winnipeg Jets. The link also allows people in the group to choose seats near one another. A portion of the proceeds from tickets purchased through this link will be donated to MPSA to help support MPSA’s work in the community. The link shares more info about the partnership with the Wild for this game.

MPSA will also have a table in the concourse space where member will represent the pharmacy profession and provide health education to game-goers. The group will also get a shout-out on the rotating banner.

At the Capitol this Week

Drug Middlemen Face First-ever Regulations in Minnesota

From Bloomberg News, March 20: Middlemen negotiating drug prices for health insurers would be regulated in Minnesota for the first time under a bill headed to a second Senate committee in early April.

The Minnesota Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee March 20 approved by voice vote SF 278, which would establish licensing fees and other standards for pharmacy benefit managers, who negotiate drug prices between manufacturers and insurers. It now heads to the Senate Finance Committee, where it could get scrutiny as early as the week beginning April 1, a Senate spokeswoman said.

If signed into law, Minnesota would become the eighth state to require pharmacy benefit managers to be licensed, according to the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy.

The Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee is considering a related but slightly different bill, HF 728, after it was approved March 13 by the House Government Operations Committee.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the Senate bill would charge all pharmacy benefit managers a $8,500 license fee, which may be renewed annually for $500. It would also impose new rules on benefit managers operating in the state. The Commerce Department, which would issue licenses, would be able to revoke them for violations such as fraud.

The bill also includes transparency language to ensure all pharmacies might compete on a more level playing field, bill author and state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), a physician, said during the March 20 hearing.

One provision in the Senate bill would prohibit effective gag orders on certain pharmacists. The gag orders forbid the pharmacists by contract from advising patients on prescription prices.

Lifting Gags

Jessica Astrup Ehret, who helps operate a Minnesota family pharmacy, told the committee a gag order imposed on her pharmacy prevented her from telling a customer with a $75 copay who was filling a prescription for a drug that costs $13 to simply pay the $13 out of pocket. The customer paid $75 for the drug, she said.

Pharmacy benefit managers want to strike a balance between protecting community pharmacies and the ability of health plans to maximize health-care spending on patients, David Root, a government affairs specialist with Prime Therapeutics LLC, told the committee.

The bill’s section on transparency, which requires disclosure of aggregate information on rebates other data, is an area for concern, he said.

“There are still a few sections we need to work through,” Root said.

Read More

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Minnesota News

Bemidji Raises Age to 21 for Tobacco Purchases

The Bemidji City Council is now the 24th local government unit in Minnesota to raise the tobacco buying age from 18 to 21. In a 5-1 vote on March 18, the council approved an ordinance change in the works since January. With the passage, officials said the change will be effective in late April.

Read the Full Story

National News

Additional Funds Released to Expand Opioid Treatment

On March 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an additional $487 million (including about $4.6 million to Minnesota) to supplement first-year funding through its State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program. The awards to states and territories are part of HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy and the Trump administration’s work to combat the opioid crisis.

Together with the $933 million in second-year continuation awards to be provided under this program later this year, the total amount of SOR grants to states and territories this year will total more than $1.4 billion. This funding will expand access to treatment that works, especially to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with appropriate social supports.

“One year ago this week, President Trump launched his national opioid initiative, which called for expanding access to compassionate, evidence-based treatment, including MAT. This week’s funding awards to states were possible because of legislation Congress passed and President Trump signed since then,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Our strategy is beginning to produce results, thanks to so many Americans working on the ground, in their own communities, to turn the tide on this crisis.”

Read the Full News Release

Opinion: The Future of e-Cigarettes

From the Washington Post, March 20: U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar and Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb have published an opinion column warning the e-cigarette industry that if companies don’t stop marketing the product to teens, the government could step in.

“The e-cigarette craze among teenagers has become an epidemic. We agree with those who believe that e-cigarettes may offer a lower-risk alternative for adult smokers who still want access to nicotine. But the continued availability of this opportunity to adults is being endangered by the e-cigarette industry’s slowness to address the dangers its products pose to teens.”

Read the Full Column

NCPA Pharmacy Fly-In, April 10-11

NCPA Pharmacy Fly-In

The National Community Pharmacists Association will hold its annual Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In event again this year. You’ll get briefings on key issues, share your story with members of Congress, and fly home… all in about 48 hours. NCPA anticipates that CMS will finalize its proposed drug pricing rule — on which NCPA members recently submitted 3400+ comments in support of the DIR provisions — sometime in early April, which could make this event all the more important as a grassroots advocacy opportunity.

Get More Details & Register Now

MPhA Events

Register Now: Minnesota Pharmacists Foundation Exclusive Wine Pairing Dinner

Saturday, April 13 • Lilydale Pool & Yacht Club, Lilydale

The Minnesota Pharmacists Foundation (MPF) will hold an exclusive 4-course wine pairing dinner at the Lilydale Pool and Yacht Club on Saturday, April 13. The incredible menu has been custom created by Chef Kevin Gillis to match the wines. The private Lilydale Pool and Yacht Club is an elegant setting on the Mississippi River where guests will watch the sunset while gathering for the elegant dinner. The event is limited to 75 people. This is a wine pairing—full pours—not a tasting, and guests will enjoy the program featuring a wine connoisseur describing the wines you’ll experience; then Chef Gillis will give insights on his food pairings for each. A gourmet indulgence to support student pharmacists!

If you are interested in purchasing a table, please contact Marsha Millonig at, 651-366-6094. If you are unable to join but would like to sponsor one of our five 2019 Scholarship Recipients, please contact Marsha.

Register Online

Register Now: APhA’s Delivering Medication Therapy Management Services

Friday, May 31 • Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

This program qualifies you to register as a provider with MN Medicaid and conduct and receive payment for Medication Therapy Management services.

Seats are limited for this course. If space is still available, you will receive confirmation of your admission. If the program is closed, your credit card will not be charged, and you will be notified. Participants must complete the self-study component, attend the live training seminar, and complete the follow-up case studies to receive full credit and certification for this course.

To Receive Full Credit for this Course:

  • Participants must complete the self-study component
  • Participants must attend the live training seminar
  • Participants must complete the 12 follow-up case studies

Register Online

Central Minnesota Resident Clinical Pearls — MSHP/MPhA Joint CE Event

April 4 • 5-7:30 p.m. • Courtyard by Marriott, 404 W. Germain St., St. Cloud, 56301

Local pharmacy residents will each provide a brief 10-minute presentation on a unique or novel approach to drug therapy learned during their residency year. The goal of this event is to provide an opportunity to showcase our Central Minnesota pharmacy residents, while providing an opportunity for residents, preceptors and pharmacists to learn and network with each other. Residents involved will each present a short presentation on a unique or novel therapeutic approach to drug therapy. Resident clinical pearls often include a brief, specific discovery made about therapeutics during their residency year. Topics can be based on an exceptional patient, can be controversial, and/or based on limited evidence (although not required). They can be small points taken from recent literature and applied during the residency year.

Register Online

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break: The New & Improved Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program

Wednesday, April 17 • 11:30 a.m. • Online webinar

This webinar will focus on the Minnesota PMP from the pharmacist’s perspective. Permissible use, reporting requirements and Controlled Substance Insight Alerts are among the items that will be discussed. The webinar will conclude with a demonstration of the new and improved Minnesota PMP database.

About the Speaker: Katrina Howard, PharmD, works as the pharmacist consultant for the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program within the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. Dr. Howard currently chairs the National Association of State Controlled Substance Authorities (NASCSA) PMP Committee. She graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Registration Fees

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

Register Online

Don’t Miss this Event! Independent Pharmacy Conference 2019

May 2-5 in San Antonio, TX

The 2019 Independent Pharmacy Conference, May 2-5 in San Antonio, is the event of the year for independents. Open to all independent pharmacies regardless of memberships, this event delivers savvy business advice via nine exceptional CE courses. You will also take advantage of a 70-vendor trade show showcasing key vendors with the latest solutions for your success.

Continuing Education will focus on your business success; this year’s lineup features a look at key profit drivers; long term care insights, the latest pharmaceutical industry trends, 340B opportunities, a legislative update, effective marketing strategies, and, understanding the CBD Oil arena, and more.

The three-day conference also features a 70-vendor trade show exposition, networking opportunities, an inspirational keynote from Scott Hamilton and fabulous receptions & entertainment. You won’t want to miss this fantastic event. Register today!

To register or for more conference information, click here.

Register Online

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

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
Sponsorship is Open Now — Learn More

October 3-4, 2019

Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park