MPhA News

Small Doses

June 21, 2019
News from MPhA
National News

Minnesota News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moments:

MPhA Leaders Attend Bill-Signing Ceremony

MPhA President Craig Else, Past President Michelle Aytay, Executive Director Sarah Derr, Interim Executive Director Marsha Millonig, Past President Tim Gallagher and Jessica Astrup Ehret attended a ceremonial bill signing at the office of Gov. Tim Walz this week. The law goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2019.

Bill Signing

Although the governor officially signed SF 278 in mid-May, the ceremony allowed bill author Sen. Scott Jensen and other legislators as well as advocates to celebrate the victory for pharmacy.

Bill Signing

L-R: MPhA Past President Tim Gallagher, President Craig Else, Gov. Tim Walz, Executive Director Sarah Derr, Past President Michelle Aytay, Sen. Jim Carlson, Interim Executive Director Marsha Millonig, Jessica Astrup Ehret.

Slindees Discuss Pharmacy with Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Slindee-KlobucharMPhA member Eric Slindee and his wife Lori had the opportunity to sit down with Sen. Amy Klobuchar recently at an event in Iowa. Eric offered to help the senator and her staff learn more about health care and pharmacy issues; the senator expressed interest and concern and stated that she has endeavored on behalf of pharmacy. Lori Slindee presented Sen. Klobuchar with a T-shirt with the slogan, “It’s not a party until a Minnesota Girl arrives.” Klobuchar is one of 23 candidates currently vying for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Sorensen Named Associate Dean

Todd SorensenMPhA member Todd Sorensen has been named Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Innovations at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Dr. Sorensen will provide leadership and oversight of the college’s strategic initiatives based on the college’s strategic plan, and collaboratively foster innovation in all mission areas based on college priorities.

He will serve as an advocate for the college’s strategic initiatives and new programs with internal and external stakeholders. He will also facilitate the development of corporate, health care and community partnerships that enhance strategic initiatives and foster innovation that enriches the college and the profession, while supporting economic development.

Read the Full Announcement

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:

Important: Medicaid MCOs Go to Uniform Preferred Drug List on July 1

Effective July 1, 2019, the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) that offer drug benefits to Minnesota Health Care Programs (Medicaid) members must use the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Uniform Preferred Drug List (PDL). This will create a more consistent drug benefit for all members and minimize disruption of members’ health plan changes. The uniform PDL was reviewed and recommended by the Drug Formulary Committee and includes many commonly used medications for a wide range of medical conditions. This does not apply to members with dual Medicare and Medicaid coverage. The Uniform PDL flowchart has been posted.

Uniform Preferred Drug List

MCOs are contacting both prescribers and patients who are on medications that will require prior authorization to be continued after the July 1 transition. However, it is likely that some patients will request refills of medications after July 1 and will not be aware that either a prior authorization or change of medication is required to continue therapy. It is important to note in these situations that the prescriber can file a “Continuation of Therapy” prior authorization request that will provide 90 days to either request a long-term prior authorization or transition to a preferred drug.

MPhA is working with the Department of Human Services and is providing input on a PDL workgroup. Pharmacies are encouraged to contact Sarah Derr via email at with any issues that occur with the change in the PDL.

Get More Information

Did you miss our special webinar on June 19? Listen to the on-demand version any time!

Click Here for the Recorded Webinar

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Minnesota News

“Robotripping” Remains a Problem in Minnesota

Prompted by a contact from a treatment court judge in Duluth who noted an increase in the number of cases involving “robotripping” (abuse of cough medicines that contain dextromethorphan, also called DM), the Minnesota Poison Control System has provided a chart showing cases reported in recent years.

Minnesota Poison Control System

Dextromethorphan* Exposures by Reason

Reason for Exposure





2019 TYD














suspected suicide






























* includes combination products

Important considerations regarding interpretation:

1. When health care providers become comfortable with management, they stop calling the poison center because this "once novel" drug is no longer unfamiliar to them.
2. People are not mandated to call the poison control center with every exposure. Because of passive reporting, the center only captures cases in which the poison center was called. Usually the center is only notified when someone has a problem with the drug. People don't generally call the poison control center just to tell say that they are abusing the drug and having a good time.

The Minnesota Pharmacy Alliance is likely to consider how to approach this issue during the months ahead.

National News

Pharmacists Save Lives When Given Authority to Directly Dispense Naloxone

From National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations Weekly Recap, June 14: A summary published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Journal Watch concluded that laws allowing pharmacists to directly dispense naloxone may reduce fatal opioid overdoses. The summary cited a recent study examining fatal and nonfatal overdoses in all 50 states and D.C. after the implementation of three types of access laws: direct authority, indirect authority through a standing order or statewide protocol, and others.

The study found that “[o]nly laws allowing pharmacists to directly dispense naloxone without a prescription were effective in curbing overdose deaths, reducing the rate by 0.39 per 100,000 people in the 3 or more years since the law’s adoption.” The study also showed that in states that allow pharmacists to directly dispense naloxone, the rate of nonfatal overdoses in the emergency department increased by 45 per 100,000 people, implying that more patients survived their overdose.

Read the Full Article

University of Maryland Adds EpiPens to All Campus Cafeterias

From WBAL-TV: Food allergies are increasing, with one in ten adults having them. Two faculty members from the University of Maryland worked with state lawmakers to get EpiPens in every dining hall on their campus. After legislation passed in late 2018, the devices were recently installed next to every AED device in the campus dining halls.

Read the Full Article

WHO Will Remove Controversial Opioid Guidelines

From Pharmacy Today, June 20: The World Health Organization (WHO) says it will discontinue two publications on prescribing opioid analgesics in response to allegations that the pharmaceutical industry influenced the reports. U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Hal Rogers (R-KY) had previously accused WHO of being influenced by Purdue Pharma, claiming the guidelines (crafted in part by organizations with financial ties to the company) downplay the risk of opioids.

Purdue has denied the allegations, and said it transparently discloses its relationships with doctors and organizations and markets its drugs only as they have been approved by FDA. The congressional report released last month tracked how doctors and organizations tied to Purdue, including many of the leading figures who worked to expand opioid prescribing in the United States in the 1990s, influenced the WHO document.

MPhA Events

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: Reducing Risk of Adverse Drug Events by Identifying Multi-Drug, Simultaneous Interactions

Wednesday, July 17 • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. • Online webinar

This webinar will describe the pervasiveness of multi-drug, simultaneous interactions and their influence on adverse drug events, especially in patients with polypharmacy. This webinar will also discuss how pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are uniquely positioned to identify and minimize these risks.

Our presenter is Calvin Knowlton, BScPharm, MDiv, PhD; Dr. Knowlton is co-founder, chairperson and CEO of Tabula Rasa HealthCare (TRHC), the first national Medication Risk MitigationTM company. Since its founding in 2009, TRHC has become the leader in providing patient-specific, data-driven technology and solutions that enable health care organizations to optimize medication regimens to improve patient outcomes, reduce hospitalizations, lower health care costs and manage risk.

Register Now

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: What’s Happened to Pharmacy Crime Since the Crackdown on Opioids?

Wednesday, August 21 • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. • Online webinar

In the midst of what has been a “crisis of prescription drug addiction,” data indicate that pharmacy burglaries and robberies are occurring less frequently than in the past. How significant is the shift? Will this continue? What does history tell us? Why should the pharmacist care?

Our presenter is Michael Warren, ARM, OHST, Corporate Risk Manager with Pharmacists Mutual Insurance. Mike is a frequent speaker on topics related to pharmacy risk management, with audiences including the National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. He has spoken at fifteen pharmacy associations and six universities over the past few years.

Register Now

APhA’s Pharmacy-based Immunization Delivery Certificate Training Program

Sunday, September 29 • 8 a.m.-5 p.m. • Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

APhA’s Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery certificate training program is based on national educational standards for immunization training from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This program is designed to educate pharmacists about the professional opportunities for vaccine advocacy and administration. This practice-based curriculum represents a fusion of science and clinical pharmacy. The program, which emphasizes a health care team approach, seeks to foster the implementation of interventions that will promote disease prevention and public health.

The purpose of this certificate training program is to prepare pharmacists with comprehensive knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to provide immunization services to patients across the life span.

This certificate training program has three components: online interactive self-study with assessment; the live seminar with online final assessment; and hands-on assessment of intramuscular and subcutaneous injection technique. A Certificate of Achievement will be awarded to participants who successfully complete all program components, including an evaluation.

Our faculty members are John Creasy, RPh; Laurie Deegan, RPh; and Melanie Schwartz, RPh; all are with Fairview Pharmacy Services.

Register Now!

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

MPhA Annual Learning and Networking Event

October 3-4 Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park

Sponsorship opportunities are available now!

Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

February 20, 2020 • Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, St. Paul