The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy says that it lacks the people, the budget and the expertise to regulate the manufacturing and sale of hemp edibles – gummies, vapes and seltzers included. Without licensing or taxation, the small Board with just five inspectors doesn’t even know the size or scope of the business it is charged with overseeing. “We’re limited in what we can do,” said Board Executive Director Jill Phillips. “It is our hope in the next legislative session that we pass much more-comprehensive legislation for these products,” Phillips added. The Board will ask the Legislature to give the job to some other state agency, perhaps a new board that could be created if the Legislature legalizes marijuana for recreational uses. It delivered the same message to legislative leaders last spring before the hemp edibles law passed.
Eden Prairie Local News
Two large public sector health plans in Minnesota say they jointly will save more than $28 million over the next two years — and potentially more down the road — after using new technology to evaluate bids from competing pharmaceutical benefits managers. The technology allows health plan sponsors to conduct reverse auctions where the PBMs must respond to detailed requests for proposals and make multiple bids in order to win these large contracts. Proponents say use of the technology could solve what they see as competition and transparency flaws in the industry, ushering in an era where big PBMs see their profits chopped down to size as employers are better able to make apples-to-apples comparisons between competitors.
On December 5, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy announced it filed a civil lawsuit against three companies, alleging they have been selling and manufacturing THC edibles with a potency that far exceeds the legal limits. State law only allows the sale of up to 5 milligrams of hemp-derived THC per serving and 50 milligrams per container, but the Board during an investigation found the Northland Vapor stores in Moorhead and Bemidji were selling "Death by Gummy Bears" that had 100 milligrams per serving and upwards of 50 times the legal limit in a single package. The Board is seeking a court order to destroy what is estimated to be what $7 million in retail product.
An Atkin County jury found that a central Minnesota pharmacist did not discriminate when he refused to provide emergency contraceptives to a woman in 2019. The pharmacist gave “belief” as the reason for refusing to fill the prescription for emergency contraception. Although the jury decided that the woman’s rights had not been violated, it did say that the emotional damage caused by the decision amounted to $25,000. The decision comes on the heels of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, leaving pharmacists to grapple with the legal implications of prescribing (or refusing to prescribe) certain medications.
Minnesota pharmacists may be able to prescribe and dispense life-saving HIV drugs soon. A new bill, HF 3864, would allow pharmacists to order, conduct, and interpret laboratory tests for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The bill would also include mandatory coverage of these services, opening up access to thousands of patients across the state. Groups like the Minnesota Pharmacists Association, Minnesota Retailers Association, and NCPA all advocate for the bill’s passage as it awaits hearings in the House of Representatives.
In July 2021, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Alec Smith InsulinAffordability Act, after a 26-year-old Minnesotan died from diabetes complications, after being being unable to afford treatment. The law grants Minnesota pharmacies the ability to dispense an emergency 30-day supply of insulin for a $35 co-pay. One year later, the law has helped 465 Minnesotans access life-saving insulin.