MPhA News

Small Doses

May 3, 2019
News from MPhA
National News
Minnesota News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

COP Names Seifert, Conway to New Positions

The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy has named MPhA Past President Randy Seifert to the position of Associate Dean for Student and Professional Affairs, effective June 1. He will lead the Office of Student Services, the Division of Professional and External Relations and continuing education.

SeifertHe will also serve as a liaison to the University, Academic Health Center, the U’s Foundation and Alumni Association, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences professional organizations, collegiate units, alumni organizations and administration regarding the college’s student and professional activities. Additionally, he will collaborate broadly with faculty, staff, collegiate leaders and external stakeholders to support our students, alumni and partners, and provide high quality experiences. Along with his new role, Seifert will continue to serve as the co-director of the college’s Center for Leading Healthcare Change.

Jeannine ConwayThe College of Pharmacy named Jeannine Conway Associate Dean for Professional Education, effective June 1. She will provide vision and leadership for the College’s professional education and ensure the curriculum is effectively designed, implemented and delivered. An associate professor in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Conway has served as Assistant Dean of Professional Education since 2015. In that role, she successfully led the implementation of the delivery of the new curriculum, administered the college’s teaching efforts for professional education, and more.

COP Alumni Association Recognizes MPhA Member

The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Alumni Association has presented a Student Award to Melanie Mahoney in recognition of her scholastic excellence and extracurricular activity. The award was presented at an event on April 25.

MPhA Board Election Ballot Now Available: Voting Closes at Midnight on May 9

MPhA Active members, New Practitioner members, Life members and Honorary members are eligible to vote for MPhA’s new President-Elect as well as one Metro Board Member and three At-Large Board Members. Online voting is open until 11:59 p.m. CDT on Thursday, May 9. Ballots will be tabulated by staff under the supervision of the Board. Results will be announced by MPhA President Jason Varin.

Vote Now!

Nominate a Friend or Colleague Today for MPhA Awards and Recognition

Do you know a pharmacist or pharmacy technician who goes above and beyond the usual? The Minnesota Pharmacists Association wants to hear from you! Help us recognize these pharmacy leaders and inspirations by nominating a pharmacist or pharmacy technician for one of our awards. Nominations are now open.

Award DescriptionsPast Recipients

At the Capitol this Week:

PBM Licensure Bill Heads to House Floor Week of May 6

SF 278, the Patients Fair Practices – PBM licensure and regulation legislation was heard in the House Ways & Means and Rules Committees this week and is now set for a vote on the House floor next Tuesday or Wednesday, May 7 or 8. Pharmacists: Please contact your state legislators (House and Senate members) and encourage them to vote for SF 278.

The House and Senate continued their work on separate Health and Human Services Omnibus (HHS) budget legislation, each adopting their versions of the HHS budget. The 2-year budget must be balanced and enacted for FY 20 & 21 spending. The HHS Conference Committee will begin to meet on May 3 and plan to finish their work by next week so that they can send a final agreed-upon HHS budget bill to the governor for signature. However, there is skepticism that final budget deals will be completed and agreed to before the May 20 constitutionally mandated adjournment date, including the HHS budget.

Many see a Special Session on the horizon. There are significant differences to the House and Senate budget bills; the HHS Senate and House budget bills are particularly far apart. The Senate legislation would continue the individual market subsidization of premiums through the reinsurance model currently used, the House would not. The House would provide tax credits and a direct subsidy to the patients utilizing the individual health insurance market through HMOs. The Senate bill does not include a repeal of the 2% Provider/Wholesaler tax, the House does —and uses the Health Care Access Fund to fund a large portion of MDHS and other HHS programs included in the House budget. Both House and Senate members have said they were not interested in compromising on these and other impactful areas of the budget.

Significant to Minnesota pharmacy is that although both bills would put the State in compliance with the CMS Outpatient Drug Rule, by moving MDHS fee-for-service pharmacy reimbursement in Minnesota on prescription drugs to a NADAC ingredient cost variable and $10.48 dispensing rate, the Senate language does not include a provision in the House bill that would reimburse pharmacists the 2% Wholesaler tax on fee-for-service MDHS transactions. In addition, the Senate language does not include the following provisions that are all contained in the House Omnibus budget bill. MPhA and MPA are working hard to make sure these provisions are included in the final HHS Conference Report that goes to the governor.

  • Patients Fair Practices – PBM licensure and regulation,
  • Emergency prescribing for pharmacists,
  • Minnesota Board of Pharmacy's "policy" provisions,
  • The LTC medication repository/recycling bill language, 
  • The Outpatient Drug Rule (OpDR) implementation legislative language and appropriation,
  • And a few other pharmacy related provisions.

The Senate and House Opioid Stewardship (OS) Conference Committee, HF 400, did not meet this past week. Those close to the negotiations report that there is an impasse over the “sunset” provision that Republicans are insisting on. The sunset would occur if there is a settlement with manufacturers that would fund the $20 million annual Opioid Stewardship budget/funding called for in the legislation. Democrats on the Conference Committee and Gov. Walz do not support a sunset. Conference members are also said to be in disagreement about the ultimate funding mechanism for the annual $20 million stewardship account appropriations. The Conference Committee will most likely meet again next week.

Access full information on MPhA’s legislative agenda.

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Minnesota News

MDH Study: Disparities in Premature Death

New research from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) finds that during a five-year period one in five deaths of Minnesotans younger than 75 were potentially avoidable with effective and timely health care treatment.

The study, Disparities in Premature Death Amenable to Health Care, 2011 to 2015 (PDF), analyzed deaths in Minnesota between 2011 and 2015. Researchers looked for “health care amenable” or premature deaths related to diseases such as stroke, heart disease, treatable cancers and others that might have been prevented through timely and effective health care treatment. The analysis found that for those five years, 14,027 out of 76,907 deaths for Minnesota residents under age 75 were potentially avoidable with health care treatment. These premature deaths led to an estimated productivity loss for the state of $1.3 billion.

Read the Full News Release

National News

FDA Launches Public Education Campaign to Remove Unused Opioids from Homes

From an FDA news release, April 25: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced the launch of a new education campaign to help Americans understand the important role they play in removing and properly disposing of unused prescription opioids from their homes. This new initiative is part of the FDA’s continued efforts to address the nationwide opioid crisis and aims to help decrease unnecessary exposure to opioids and prevent new addiction. The “Remove the Risk” campaign is targeting women ages 35-64, who are most likely to oversee household health care decisions and often serve as the gatekeepers to opioids and other prescription medications in the home.

Read the Full News Release

Whistleblowers Say Pharma Company Used Bribes to Increase Sales

From, April 30: Two whistleblowers at a pharmaceutical company responsible for one of the largest drug price increases in U.S. history said the company bribed doctors and their staffs to increase sales, according to newly unsealed documents in federal court.

The whistleblowers said in a lawsuit against the company that the bribes were part of an intentional "multi-tiered strategy" by Questcor Pharmaceuticals, now Mallinckrodt, to boost sales of H.P. Acthar Gel, cheating the government out of millions of dollars.

The price of the drug, best known for treating a rare infant seizure disorder, has increased almost 97,000%, from $40 a vial in 2000 to nearly $39,000 today. The suit claims that many doctors who treat patients with multiple sclerosis refused to speak with Questcor sales reps, but the company overcame that barrier by bribing office staff to arrange meetings with doctors.

The price hike puts it among the most dramatic drug price increases in the nation's history, said Stephen Schondelmeyer, director of Minnesota’s PRIME Institute, a research organization that studies economic and policy issues related to pharmaceuticals. "If gas [prices] increased from 1993 to 2019 at the rate of H.P. Acthar, gas today would cost $1,300 a gallon," he said.

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety: Tip for Pharmacists

Pharmacists are encouraged to engage patients in their prescriptions. Encouraging patient counseling on high-alert medications and implementing procedures such as “open the bag” (review with the patient the contents of the bag at the point of sale) can help reduce risk. For more information, or to get your Medication Safety Program started, go to or contact the Alliance for Patient Medication Safety at (866)365-7472!

MPhA Events

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. There are more reimbursable MTM opportunities than there are pharmacist providers to conduct the encounters. Help patients and your bottom line by becoming a provider through this course!

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

Register Now: MPhA Leadership Summit and House of Delegates Meeting

Wednesday, June 12 • 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. • Midland Hills Country Club, Roseville

The 2019 Leadership Summit and House of Delegates theme is Building Tomorrow Together. The program will be inspirational and motivational, and will provide you with the opportunity to network, learn and share with your peers throughout the day. The morning program will celebrate MPhA’s past, honor its present and create its future! You will hear invigorating messages of traversing your leadership journey while we find inspiration together to prepare for our future. You’ll hear about MPhA’s strategic initiatives and welcome new MPhA Executive Director Sarah Derr, PharmD. We will share advocacy successes for MPhA and the Minnesota Pharmacy Alliance in the afternoon and be challenged to lay the groundwork for future advocacy initiatives to enable pharmacists to meet the health needs of Minnesota communities.

Michelle Johnson

During the House of Delegates, you will hear the State of MPhA from leadership, discuss policy proposals and new business and install MPhA’s new leaders for the year. We’ll close our day with a networking reception honoring our Past Presidents, leaders in our profession and MPhA volunteers. The day is designed to provide us with a glimpse of how far we have come to advance patient care and practice and where we need to go next.

By participating, you will join your colleagues in advancing Minnesota pharmacy practice! You’ll be involved in discussions on important initiatives and pharmacy’s advocacy agenda and earn 3.75 hours of continuing education credits.

During registration, you’ll be asked if you are willing to serve as a delegate and for what district, academy, group or affiliation. MPhA strives to include you as a delegate to your preferred district, academy or group, however, we reserve the right to assign delegates as needed for full representation.

The House of Delegates annual business meeting will include recognizing member achievements through the MPhA leadership awards, installing new officers and board members, learning about strategic plan progress and committee achievements, and presenting and reviewing 2019 policy proposals. A number of important issues will be discussed. This is your time as a member to voice your opinions and shape your association!

Register Online

Learn More about Sponsorship

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break: Meditation: The New Milk? It Does a Body Good!

Wednesday, May 15 • Noon-1 p.m. • Online webinar

Contemplative practices such as mindfulness and meditation are increasing in popularity as a stress management tool and wellness strategy. They can also have an impact on work performance and medication safety. During this virtual coffee break program, we will explore the history of meditation, review the major types of meditation and outline the emerging science and health benefits behind this ancient methodology.

About the Speaker:

Lisa Hanlon Wilhelm, BS Pharm, RPh, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and completed the ASHP Executive Residency in Association Management. Most of her time since residency has been spent practicing pharmacy at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA, primarily in Medication Safety and Regulatory Compliance. Lisa also worked with ASHP Advantage for over 13 years, co-facilitated the ASHP Clinical Skills Competition for 9 years and worked at the National Patient Safety Foundation for just under 2 years. Lisa’s interest in meditation is beyond personal — she has begun to incorporate teaching basic mindfulness and heart rhythm meditation practices for stress reduction as well as to improve focus and attention to improve medication safety at Hershey Medical Center.


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

Register Online

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

October 3-4, 2019

Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park

Sponsorship opportunities are available now!