Taking Action Express: BREAKING MN Specialty Rx News; May is Hepatitis Awareness Month; Lowering Health Care Costs by 60%; Capitol News…

May 5, 2015

The Weekly Buzz: Star Tribune Publishes Pare and Klepper Specialty Rx Editorial

Minnesota Health Action Group members are here to say enough is enough where runaway specialty pharmacy costs are concerned, according to this editorial published in today’s Star Tribune and written by Action Group President and CEO, Carolyn Pare, and National Business Coalition on Health CEO, Brian Klepper. “All Minnesota employers should become informed about this issue and join The Action Group as we strive to hold drug manufacturers and sellers accountable for rational pricing practices. It’s time, yet again, for business to lead the way in health care innovation.”

May 19:
National Hepatitis Testing Day!

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can become chronic, lifelong infections that may lead to liver cancer. Millions of Americans are living with chronic viral hepatitis and don’t know it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Viral Hepatitis is leading a national campaign called Know More Hepatitis. The initiative aims to increase awareness about the hidden epidemic, and encourage people born between 1945-1965 to get tested for hepatitis C.

klepperBusinesses Must Help Solve the Health Care Crisis

The most important resource for saving health care—-and saving America—-is businesses, advised Brian Klepper, CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health, at last week’s Human Resource Executive Health and Benefits Leadership Conference. Suggestions for how you can become part of the solution are found here.


In pharmacy news this week, Express Scripts says that controlling prices on costly cancer drugs will be its next area of focus, as reported by Reuters.

In pharmacy news this week, Express Scripts says that controlling prices on costly cancer drugs will be its next area of focus, as reported by

Specialty Pharmacy Learning Network Phase II Kicks off May 27; All-Member Meeting May 21

The Action Group’s Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network kicked off last October, and is being extended for another six months. Even if you were not a part of Phase I, if you are an employer-member, you are invited to join Phase II, which kicks off on May 27. We will be offering a Specialty Pharmacy Boot Camp to get you up to speed on everything we learned during Phase I. For more information, please contact Carolyn Pare (952-896-5185) or Linda Davis (952-484-7970). All members are invited to our May 21 meeting, where we will gather to review the Phase I Specialty Pharmacy Purchaser’s Guide.



Did You Know?

Action Group members may post job openings in fyi and Express at no cost. Simply send your request to Sue Jesseman.

Help Wanted: Hennepin County Benefits Manager; University of MN Benefits Financial Analyst

Hennepin County. Hennepin County is seeking a Human Resources manager with proven ability to use creativity and innovation to build on its quality benefit programs and initiatives. Duties involve planning and directing the design, implementation, communication and administration of employee benefits programs that exceed $200 million in annual expenditures. Click here to learn more.

University of Minnesota. The University of Minnesota, with its own self-insured health care program for employees and dependents, is seeking a financial professional with experience in health programs to act as the primary resource on all financial aspects of its benefits programs. Additional analytic experience in the areas of general business, human resources, and HRMS (PeopleSoft preferred) is a strong consideration. Click here to see the full job description.

Minnesota_State_Capitol_5From the State Capitol

The House and Senate have named their respective conference committee members to hammer out an agreement on a final HHS omnibus spending bill:

House of Representatives
Matt Dean (R – Dellwood, co-chair), Tara Mack (R – Apple Valley), Joe McDonald (R – Delano), Joe Schomaker (R – Luverne), and Nick Zerwas (R – Elk River)

Tony Lourey (DFL – Kerrick, co-chair), Melissa Franzen (DFL – Edina), Jeff Hayden (DFL – Minneapolis), Julie Rosen (R – Fairmount), and Kathy Sheran (DFL – Mankato)

The committee’s first scheduled meeting is Tuesday, May 5. Theywill walk through and compare the two proposals. Once a global budget target is set by legislative leadership, the conferees can set to work cobbling their report together.

Thought for the Week

As many people know, the Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi® made headlines last year when a course of treatment was pegged at $84,000 in the U.S., crushing previous cost and use records. The same drug is priced at $900 in Egypt and $51,000 in France.

From a blog post by Carolyn Pare and Brian Klepper