Drug Formulary Representative Appointed

Ronna Linroth, Manager of Outpatient Services for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and an active member of the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities, was appointed by Commissioner Kevin Goodno to a three-year term as the Consumer Representative to the Drug Formulary Committee (DFC). Ms. Linroth has thirty years of disability-related experience and currently manages Gillette’s clinics in New Brighton and Gillette’s Duluth.

Ms. Linroth reports that after several months of serving in this capacity she is pleased with the thoughtfulness, integrity, and consumer sensitivity of the committee members and the Department representatives. Committee meetings focus on the clinical effectiveness of drugs to ensure reasonable choices are appropriate. The economic negotiations are secondarily discussed between the Department and FirstHealth.

As required by Minnesota Statues 256B.0625, subd 13, other Committee members include three pharmacists, four physicians, and a nursing home representative. The committee addresses which drugs should be on the formulary (easily accessible with prescription) and which should not (accessible only if a person meets specific criteria).

Minnesota’s fee-for-service Medicaid program (MA) recently signed a contract with FirstHealth Services with the goal of becoming part of the multi-state purchasing pool, which involves developing a Preferred Drug List (PDL) and garnering supplemental rebates on preferred drugs. FirstHealth Staff is responsible to prioritize the schedule for reviewing drug classes, provide clinical class reviews for DFC consideration, and negotiating the supplemental rebates.

The committee has developed a set of decision-making principles and endeavors to be evidenced based where possible. Minnesota is a new member of the Oregon Drug Effectiveness Review, another multi-state effort to gather quality clinical research that can further contribute to the decision making.

Committee meetings are held in the evenings at 444 Lafayette in St. Paul and are open to the public. Drug manufacturer representatives and disability group representatives as well as other interested parties may attend and make short presentations. Committee membership and meeting minutes can be found on the DHS website.

Minnesotan’s deserve information and access to affordable prescription medications. The Minnesota RxConnect Web site at www.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/portal/mn/jsp/home.do?agency=Rx was created to provide Minnesota residents information on issues related to prescription medicine, safety and cost-saving tips, and programs to help low-income Minnesotans pay for prescription medications. A fact sheet for consumers is also available online.