MPhA News

Small Doses

July 12, 2019
News from MPhA
National News

Minnesota News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moments:

COP Student Pharmacists Make National News

U.S. News & World Report published an article about University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy students (and MPhA members) Rowan Mahon and Hannah Van Ochten for their work to launch Minnesota’s new prescription drug repository program.

Read the article

Nominate Today for New MPhA Pharmacy Advocacy Award (and Other Awards)

The deadline to submit nominations for all MPhA awards — including our new Pharmacy Advocacy Award — is just around the corner on July 15. The Pharmacy Advocate Award recognizes a person who has supported pharmacy in any practice setting and has demonstrated leadership in the workplace and the community. This includes demonstrating professionalism by participation in the pharmacy association, professional programs and/or community service, promoting teamwork within the pharmacy, providing leadership and serving as a role model for coworkers, developing or assisting development of efficient safe procedures that contribute to patient safety.

Our other awards include:
Harold R. Popp Award – Outstanding service to the profession of pharmacy
Bowl of Hygeia Award – Outstanding record of community service, reflecting well on the profession of pharmacy
Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award – Presented to an outstanding pharmacist who has received an entry level degree in pharmacy less than 10 years ago
Excellence in Innovation Award – Presented to a pharmacist who demonstrates innovative pharmacy practice resulting in improved patient care
Pharmacy Technician Award – Recognizes pharmacy technicians in any setting who demonstrate leadership in their work and community

Make Your Nominations Now!

At the Capitol this Week:

Important: Medicaid MCOs Now on Uniform Preferred Drug List

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

New Wage Theft Law Begins July 1; Updated Sample Employee Notice Provided By DOLI Available Now

From Minnesota Retailers Association, July 3: One outcome of the 2019 Legislative session is a new wage theft law with portions that impact all employers across Minnesota kicking in July 1. This issue of The Retail Beat shares important compliance information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI).

Retailers of all sizes and locations are subject to the new law. One provision employers need to be aware of and prepare for is a new employee noticing requirement that took effect July 1 for all new employees.

See below for information on the July 1 requirements. To review all your obligations under the law visit

Also, click here for a sample employee notice from the Department of Labor and Industry.

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

COP Researcher Finds Industry Payments to Physicians Are Linked to Increased Prescriptions of Gabapentinoids

A study published in the July 8 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine found that physicians who received financial support from pharmaceutical companies were nearly twice as likely to prescribe brand name versions of gabapentin. The research was conducted by University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Adjunct Assistant Professor Greg Rhee. “The rise in gabapentin prescribing is concerning because this drug class has the potential to be abused,” Dr. Rhee said.

Read the full news release

National News

Surgeon General Advisory Recommends Co-prescribing Naloxone

U.S. Surgeon General ADM Brett Giroir issued an advisory on July 8 that recommends co-prescribing naloxone to patients who are at elevated risk for overdose. The advisory reads in part, “In order to reduce the risk of overdose deaths, clinicians should strongly consider prescribing or co-prescribing naloxone, and providing education about its use” for a variety of patients who are at risk of opioid overdose. Among those who should be considered for naloxone co-prescriptions are patients who receive opioids at a dosage of 50 morphine milligram equivalents per day or greater, those who have respiratory conditions such as COPD or obstructive sleep apnea, and those who have been prescribed benzodiazepines.

Read the full advisory

Medication Safety Tip from APMS

From Alliance for Patient Medication Safety™ (APMS) PSO: Frontline feedback can be used to identify risk and reduce possible errors in the future. This works best if the pharmacy encourages open discussion without the fear of embarrassment and has ultimately implemented a culture of safety. For example, in a QA meeting a technician comments that lack of counter space causes a “pile-up” of prescriptions, which she feels could result in an error. In a strong safety culture, the technician and the comment are treated respectfully and results in a team discussion leading to improvements.

For more information, or to get your Medication Safety Program started, go to or contact APMS at (866)365-7472!

APhA Annual Awards and Honors Program

The American Pharmacists Association is accepting nominations for its Annual Awards and Honors program — the most comprehensive recognition program in the pharmacy profession. The deadline is September 1. Nominate a colleague today:

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

NCPA Award: Deadline July 19

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year award. The annual award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith and presented at the first general session at the NCPA Annual Convention, recognizes an independent pharmacist for exceptional leadership and commitment to independent pharmacy. Deadline for nominations is Friday, July 19. The winner will receive an engraved commemorative plaque, $1,000 cash, and paid travel expenses to the Convention, Oct. 26-29, in San Diego.

Candidates for the awards must be an NCPA member and an owner or manager of an independent pharmacy. Self-nominations are acceptable. To nominate, complete this form. The award is named for Willard B. Simmons, a longtime NCPA Foundation board member who exemplified outstanding leadership and commitment to independent pharmacy.

MPhA Events

Coming Next Week! 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!

Registration will open in early August

Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

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