MPhA News

Small Doses

May 31, 2019
News from MPhA
National News
Minnesota News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Thanks to Those Who Contacted Legislators!

Many thanks to all the MPhA members who contacted their legislators during the recently-concluded session of the Minnesota Legislature! Your voices made a difference in passing the Medical Assistance covered outpatient drug payment.

Nominate a Friend or Colleague Today for MPhA Awards and Recognition

The Minnesota Pharmacists Association annually recognizes leaders in the field of pharmacy. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by a committee appointed by the MPhA President. Awards will be presented at the MPhA Annual Learning Network Event in October. The deadline to submit awards for this year is Monday, July 8.
We welcome your nomination of pharmacy leaders to be recognized. Nomination form(s) should be submitted along with letters of support to the MPhA office. More information, including MPhA’s policy on awards and a full listing of past recipients, can be found on the MPhA Awards page.

Learn more and make your nomination today!

At the Capitol this Week:

Special Session Concludes

The special session of the Minnesota Legislature concluded just before 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, after nearly 21 hours. Agreement was reached on ten budget bills, plus a pension bill. We are still researching the details, but the Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill contained several items that will benefit pharmacy and our patients — including opioid abuse treatment and prevention measures and passage of the MA covered outpatient drug payment. Gov. Walz is expected to sign the bill. 

The Global Budget Agreement reached between the governor, speaker of the House and Senate majority leader included passing a $500 million Capital Investment or Bonding Bill — however, the bill was not brought forward for a vote in either body. While the initial response from the minority leaders in both bodies was to oppose providing the votes necessary to suspend the rules and allow for a quick session, in the end private discussions likely led to some non-public agreements with the minority. The outcome of those discussions may never be made public or they could include changes we won’t see until the Legislature returns in 2020. Minority members in both bodies offered a handful of amendments to various bills; those amendments were not adopted. The governor has begun signing bills as they are presented to him.

The new budget goes into effect on July 1, 2019. The Legislature is not scheduled to return until February 11, 2020. Many House committees have indicated an interest in conducting hearings or listening sessions over the Interim. Watch for more information soon.

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Minnesota News

Minnesota Attorney General Sues Manufacturers of Generic Pharmaceuticals

Stephen Schondelmeyer Calls the Market Broken

From Insight News, May 21: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined 42 other states and Puerto Rico in filing a lawsuit against 20 manufacturers of generic pharmaceutical drugs and 15 individual defendants, alleging the defendants conspired to illegally allocate markets and fix prices for 112 prescription generic drugs.

Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer, professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and a national expert on the economic and social impacts of drug prices, said, “We’ve relied on generics manufacturers to lower the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, and now the very people that we’ve relied upon have turned around and stabbed us in the back with tremendous price increases. This market is broken.”

Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Worthington) lives with multiple sclerosis; he spoke of “countless” contacts he has had from Minnesotans who are having to “choose between paying their bills and saving their lives.”

Both Dr. Schondelmeyer and Rep. Hamilton are members of AG Ellison’s Advisory Task Force for Lowering Pharmaceutical Drug Prices.

Read the Full Story

In Memoriam: MPhA Member Stacy Jo Meyer

Longtime MPhA member Stacy Jo Meyer of Freeport, Minn., passed away earlier this month as a result of a motor vehicle accident. A graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Stacy co-owned the Melrose and Long Prairie Pharmacies. She provided compassion, caring and counseling for the communities and the patients of CentraCare Hospital in Melrose, Minn. Stacy also chose to operate Schiffler’s Liquor in St. Anthony, Minn., after the death of her father. Memorial services were held on May 11.

Read More About Stacy

National News

DIR Fees Remain for Now, but the Fight Goes on

From APhA website, May 28, 2019: In its final rule for Medicare Part D, CMS announced that it would not move forward with a proposal to account for pharmacy price concessions—also known as direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees—at the point of sale in 2020 Part D plans. The move would not have eliminated DIR fees—it would have only ended the practice of extracting them retroactively. APhA called the news “disappointing, but not discouraging.”

Thousands of pharmacists submitted comments to CMS letting the agency know that applying price concessions at the point of sale was better than retroactive assessment for both patients and pharmacies—and CMS noticed. In the final rule, the agency stated, “CMS is continuing to carefully review these comments as we continue to consider policies that would lower prescription drug costs, address challenges that independent pharmacies face, and improve the quality of pharmacy care.”

Read the Full Report

Measles Outbreaks Expand to 26 States

From CDC website, May 27, 2019: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that so far in 2019, nearly 950 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 26 states. The latest report, issued on May 24, states that this is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994.

Many of the current outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries (including Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines) where large measles outbreaks are occurring.

Read the Full Report

MPhA Events

Register by June 3 to Save: MPhA Leadership Summit and House of Delegates Meeting

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

Register on or before Monday, June 3 to save $15 per person on registration! 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!

Read more and register now!

Learn More about Sponsorship

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: Ongoing National Vaccine-Preventable Disease Outbreaks — How Pharmacists Can Help

Wednesday, June 19 • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. • Online webinar

Learn about ongoing measles and hepatitis A outbreaks in the United States and the impact on population health. We will discuss vaccination as a way to stop these outbreaks. The recommendations for MMR and Hepatitis A vaccination will be reviewed. Additionally, we will explore ways that pharmacists can help target high-risk individuals indicated for vaccination.

Our presenters are Jennifer Heath, supervisor of the Education and Partnerships Unit in the Vaccine Preventable Disease Section at the Minnesota Department of Health, and Lynn Bahta, immunization clinical consultant in the immunization program at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Upon completion of this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Describe the key epidemiological elements driving the national measles outbreak.
  • Describe the at-risk population involved in the current hepatitis A outbreaks.
  • Discuss key interventions to stop these outbreaks.
  • Discuss how vaccine recommendations can be applied in the pharmacy setting.

Upon completion of this activity, technicians should be able to:

  • Describe the key issues driving the national measles outbreak.
  • Describe the at-risk population involved in the current hepatitis A outbreaks.
  • Discuss interventions that the pharmacy technician can make to help promote vaccination.

Register Now

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

October 3-4 • MPhA Annual Learning and Networking Event • Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park

Sponsorship opportunities are available now!