Leading 2015 Action Group Blogs; Top-10 Trending Rx Stories; Join Us Jan. 20; Action Group Seeks Vice President…

January 5, 2016

The Weekly Buzz: Top 2015 Action Group Blogs

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” – Vern McLellan

The Action Group’s Leadership Blog covered a wide variety of topics in 2015, from rising concerns about the high cost of prescription drugs to helping employees improve their health and quality of life. Here are the top picks of 2015:


ows_143086680421835While You Were Out: December Specialty Pharmacy News

  • A new lung cancer drug, priced at $11,430 per month in the U.S., is well above what a group of doctors say is a fair price that reflects what they call the drug’s “modest benefit.” Read more here.
  • Hefty price increases for a number of prescription drugs contributed to higher spending by the U.S. Medicare program in 2014, according to new government data released December 21. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) identified at least five drugs that were covered under Medicare’s Part D drug benefit and had increases of 100 percent or more in cost per unit from 2013 to 2014. At the top of the list was Vimovo, a pain reliever whose cost-per-unit rose more than 500 percent after it was acquired by a new pharmaceutical company. Read more here.
  • Rising drug prices are forcing tough decisions on U.S. employers as they grapple with providing sound benefit options for employees, while reining in unsustainable costs. Action Group members have devoted hundreds of hours over the past year to uncovering cost-management solutions under the close guidance of Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer, a U of MN professor and internationally renowned pharmaceutical marketplace expert. This December Wall St. Journal article features actions being taken by the U of MN to gain greater control over prescription drug spending.

Top 10 Trending Rx Stories of 2015
From the serious (“What to Know about Female Viagra”) to the silly (“Rx-rated Pharmacy Pick-up Lines”), check out the top 10 trending 2015 Rx stories From Pharmacy Times.


187January 20 Meeting for Members and Prospective Members

Beginning with a hot breakfast, this first member meeting of 2016 will focus on the accomplishments and key findings of 2015, and set forth our plans for advancing toward 2016 goals. We encourage you to bring friends or colleagues who are contemplating membership to this open meeting, or to suggest potential attendees – we can take care of sending invitations. Click here to learn more or to RSVP.

Not Yet a Member?

If you are considering membership, we invite you to join us at a member meeting to learn more! You can also read about the benefits of membership by clicking here.


Helping Your Employees Start the New Year Right by Taking Charge of Their Health

Making Healthy Choices. Consumer Reports offers employee communications resources for your employees that are available at no cost. Making Healthy Choices offers evidence-based advice about how to be a smart consumer. The tools help employees engage with their health-care providers, enabling them to choose the high-quality care they need while avoiding unnecessary services they don’t. Among the new materials are stories about real patients who are discovering how to avoid costly, and even harmful, medical care

obmLogoYou: Your Own Best Medicine. This campaign is sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) to empower patients to actively manage their own health care. It is designed to help Minnesotans partner with their health care teams to stay healthy and safe. To learn more about how the campaign can help your employees, check out this Action Group guest blog by Marie Dotseth, executive director of MAPS.


Join Us for the 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit  

Save the date for The Action Group’s 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit on April 22, 2016. This event is open to all and was sold out in 2015. We will feature national and international health care and benefits thought leaders, the Innovator’s Showcase, interactive polling, networking opportunities, sponsored booths, and lively discussions. If you or a partner organization would like to sponsor an exhibit, please contact us!


Position Opening: Minnesota Health Action Group Vice President

The full time vice president of The Action Group reports directly to the president and CEO. The primary responsibility is to manage Minnesota Bridges to Excellence, The Action Group’s pay-for-performance program. In addition, the vice president has responsibility for developing and managing The Action Group’s annual budget, managing the Annual Employer Benefits Survey, and collaborating in the planning, design and facilitation of community dialogues and member meetings. Working with the president and CEO, the vice president will ensure the organization’s operations run efficiently and will serve as back up to president and CEO as required. Complete job description available upon request. Inquiries, cover letters, and resumes may be directed to Carolyn Pare.


Thought for the Week

“Portrazza [new and controversial lung cancer drug] isn’t as expensive as some other new cancer drugs that are closer to $15,000 a month, but the price is still too high. I don’t think we should be paying high prices for a drug that only provides a very minimal level of benefit.”

Dr. Daniel Goldstein, Adjunct assistant professor at Emory in Atlanta, senior physician at Rabin Medical Center in Israel