MPhA News

Small Doses

June 28, 2019
News from MPhA
National News

Minnesota News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moments:

Joel Farley

Joel Farley Named to Peters Chair in Pharmacy Practice Innovation

Congratulations to MPhA member Joel Farley, PhD, who has been named the Peters Endowed Chair in Pharmacy Practice Innovation at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. The appointment is effective on July 1. Dr. Farley joined the College of Pharmacy in August 2017 as a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems.

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Student Pharmacists Convince Lawmakers to Create Prescription Drug Repository

From Minnesota Public Radio, June 27: University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy students (and MPhA members) Rowan Mahon and Hannah Van Ochten were interviewed for a story on the new drug repository program approved by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Gov. Walz this session. Starting next year, unused medications will be collected and distributed to people who are struggling to afford their medicine.

Drug Repository

Students from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, including Rowan Mahon (left) posed with state Sen. Scott Jensen earlier this year to point up the need for a drug repository program.

Rui Zhang Recognized for Outstanding Teaching

Congratulations to MPhA member Rui Zhang, PhD, MS, who recently received a certificate from the University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation for outstanding teaching and dedication to helping students learn. Dr. Zhang is an associate professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems at the College of Pharmacy.

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!

MPhA Wishes You a Happy Independence Day!

The Minnesota Pharmacists Association hopes that our members will be able to enjoy next week’s Independence Day with family and friends. We wish you good health and good fun! In observance of the holiday, our offices will be closed on Thursday, July 4. The office will be open on Friday, July 5, but many staff members are taking vacation that day. We will not send out our Small Doses newsletter next week.

Happy Independence Day!

At the Capitol this Week:

Important: Medicaid MCOs Go to Uniform Preferred Drug List on Monday

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

Reminder: Documentation of 2% Minnesota Wholesaler Tax Needed ASAP

Minnesota has passed legislation to come into compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Covered Outpatient Drug Rule. The goal of the CMS rule is to more closely align product reimbursement with actual acquisition cost and to change dispensing fee reimbursement to align with the true cost of dispensing. The parameters of the new rule will set FFS Medicaid product reimbursement to the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) and raise the dispensing fee to $10.48. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS) will then conduct cost of dispensing surveys with a revised rate recommendation to the Legislature in 2021 and will conduct a survey every 3 years. All pharmacies doing business in Minnesota are asked to provide DHS with information by July 31.

The next step in implementing the rule is for MDHS to file a State Plan Amendment (SPA) with CMS, who then reviews and approves it. In Minnesota, the SPA will be complicated by the 2% Minnesota Wholesaler Tax. MPhA has been in touch with Chad Hope, MDHS Deputy Director, Div. of Purchasing and Service Delivery, to understand what documentation all pharmacies doing business in Minnesota need to provide in order to assist CMS in making a positive decision to reimburse pharmacies for the 2% fee.

Jeff Lindoo of our Public Affairs Committee has created a template that is acceptable documentation of your payment of the 2% Wholesaler Tax to share with Dr. Hope. Dr. Hope has indicated that he believes having this documentation from nearly ALL pharmacies doing business in Minnesota will be important for CMS to make a positive decision, allowing our SPA to be approved and coming into compliance with the CMS Covered Outpatient Drug Rule. If CMS were to make a negative decision on reimbursing the 2% tax, NO PHARMACY IN MINNESOTA WOULD RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE 2% TAX, creating a very negative business bottom line on these claims.

Your action is needed to get this information to Dr. Chad Hope as soon as possible. Please follow the template. If you are not the appropriate person within your pharmacy operations to complete this documentation, please forward this email to the right contact point for action. As noted in the template, information can be sent directly to Dr. Hope at:

Chad Hope, PharmD
Deputy Director, Division of Purchasing and Service Delivery
Minnesota Dept of Human Services
540 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

National News

APhA Submits Comments on Senate Committee’s Proposal to Lower Health Care Costs

From American Pharmacists Association Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Update, June: On June 5, APhA submitted comments in response to a wide-ranging bipartisan legislative proposal of ideas to lower health care costs by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA).

On the topic of biologics, APhA urged the committee to make grants available to health care provider associations, including pharmacist associations, for the purpose of developing continuing education related to biological products. While APhA appreciated potential education provided by government entities, it believes associations are best suited to develop education that is tailored to the various needs of different types of health care practitioners.

APhA also expressed concern on provisions that would prohibit requiring health insurance plans to contract with all providers in a particular system. Similar to the increased use of selective contracting by health plans and PBMs, APhA emphasized restricting access to providers and pharmacies would have a negative impact on patient choice, access to care, and competition.

On PBMs, APhA applauded the Committee’s work to provide limitations on “spread pricing,” where PBMs charge one amount to health plans for a drug, then reimburse pharmacies a different, often lower amount—and capture the spread in between. However, APhA also pointed out PBMs have additional methods of narrowing pharmacies’ revenue not addressed in the proposal. Accordingly, APhA urged the Committee to also eliminate health plans’ and PBMs’ equally harmful misuse of “clawbacks” or “true-ups” (practiced under the Part D program as retroactive Direct and Indirect Remuneration [DIR] fees) retroactively taken back from pharmacies months later rather than deducted from claims on a real-time basis.

APhA also urged the Committee to modify the proposal to explicitly include pharmacists among “health care providers” and schools of pharmacy eligible for grants and pilot programs including activities to address vaccine-preventable diseases, technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models to address chronic diseases and the provision of health care services related to prenatal care, labor care, birthing, and postpartum care.

Lastly, APhA urged the Committee to include provider status legislation in any final legislative package as part of the solution to address drug pricing and lower patients’ health care costs.

Bipartisan Support for Emergency Access to Insulin Act

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) has secured the support of Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) as a cosponsor of the Emergency Access to Insulin Act. The bill was introduced June 27 in remembrance of Minnesotan Alec Smith, who died at age 26 after rationing his insulin supply.

The Emergency Access to Insulin Act would:

  • Establish State Insulin Assistance Programs (SIAPs) by providing federal grants so states can set up SIAPs, which would provide a short-term insulin supply for uninsured and underinsured patients and help patients identify state, federal, and private options to improve insulin affordability long-term;
  • Ensure insulin manufacturers have skin in the game and take part in ensuring Minnesotans and Americans can access the insulin they need by holding manufacturers accountable to fund SIAPs;
  • Penalize insulin manufacturers for their history of excessive insulin price spikes, and for future increases in insulin prices beyond inflation; and
  • Promote insulin market competition by reducing exclusivity periods for insulin and other biologics from 12 years to 7 years to bring “generic” or biosimilar insulin to market faster.

Read the full news releaseRelated article from WCCO

Pharmacy Organizations Take Stand Against Drug Importation Plans

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) have written to U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to argue against state activities that would result in drug importation plans. “Our organizations oppose approval of a state drug importation program that disrupts care or creates gaps in the pharmaceutical supply chain,” the letter states. “An importation program that meets a lower standard than that set by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act poses risks to consumers, creates loopholes and does not allow pharmacists to assure the quality of medicines dispensed to patients.”

Read the Full Letter

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