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The State of Montana is a member of the Minnesota Multistate Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy (MMCAP) group purchasing organization. This membership gives State agencies and political subdivisions access to hundreds of pharmaceutical and healthcare contracts.

The Minnesota Multistate Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy (MMCAP: www.mmcap.org) is a free, voluntary group purchasing organization for government facilities that provide healthcare services. Membership is open to states and their agencies as well as counties, cities, school districts and entities recognized by the home state’s laws as authorized to use that state’s commodity or service contracts. MMCAP is operated by the State of Minnesota and is housed within the Minnesota Department of Administration.

MMCAP's mission is to provide, through volume contracting and careful contract management, the best value in pharmaceuticals and related products to its members - eligible governmental health care facilities.  MMCAP member facilities purchase over $1 billion per year and have national account status with all of the major brand name and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers.

MMCAP is constantly updating current contracts and adding new supply and service contracts to meet the needs of their members. As of March 2014 MMCAP had the following active contracts:

Condom Supplies (2 contracts)

Dental Supplies

Diabetic Syringes, Needles & Related Products (3 contracts)

Drug Testing Kits (3 contracts)

Influenza Vaccine (6 contracts)

Invoice Auditing Software

Laboratory Equipment and Supplies (various vendors)

Medical Supplies (6 contractors)

Pharmaceutical Containers and Vials (2 contracts)

Pharmaceutical Distributor for Montana is Cardinal Health (169 manufacturer contracts)

Pharmaceutical Repackaging (2 contracts)

Pharmaceutical Returned Goods Processing

Prescription Filling / Pharmacy Services

 

Some of the Benefits of Membership:

Reduced Costs for Products and Services Based on MMCAP's volume purchasing power, MMCAP is able to negotiate contracts that provide its members with significant cost savings.

Free Membership - Membership is free! Once you are a member you are not required to exclusively use MMCAP contracts; however, each "on contract" purchase increases MMCAP's buying power and ability to negotiate better contract prices from manufacturers.

Distributor Rebate Credit - Annually, after the close of a "contract year" (July 1 to June 30), MMCAP issues a "credit" to each participating facility that actually purchased contract pharmaceuticals from MMCAP contracts during the previous contract year. The credit reflects administrative fees collected from manufacturers in a given contract year that were not actually expended to support MMCAP operations.

Electronic Catalog of All Available Products and Notice of Backorders - Member Facilities using the MMCAP Pharmaceutical Program have free access to an Internet-based catalog which provides an up-to-date listing of every pharmaceutical product on contract. Included in the product listing are the generic and trade name, source, price and AHFS classification, as well as other useful information. MMCAP also maintains a comprehensive list of pharmaceutical products on backorder along with the status of the product (e.g., long or short term backorder, product short dating, discontinued product lists).

 

Becoming a Member Facility

To become a member, a facility must:

1.     Complete and execute the MMCAP Membership and Agreement forms and submit them to Penny Moon, Montana’s MMCAP Purchasing Contact. The forms can be found on the MMCAP website at http://www.mmd.admin.state.mn.us/MMCAP/background/NewMemberInfo.aspx. Completed forms should be sent to John Thomas at jthomas@mt.gov;

2.     Comply with all laws, rules and regulations governing government purchasing of pharmaceuticals and related products, including operating within the boundaries established by Robinson-Patman (15 U.S.C. 13 (a)), Abbott Labs v. Portland Retail Druggists (425 U.S. 1(1976)) and Jefferson County Pharmaceutical Association, Inc. v. Abbott Labs (460 U.S. 150 (1983)) (see MMCAP’s explanation below); and

3.     Use the MMCAP-contracted pharmaceutical distributor selected by Montana – Cardinal Health.

 

Robinson-Patman, "Own Use," and MMCAP Contracts

Each member state and/or member facility must deal directly with its Attorney General (or equivalent) to reach final interpretation of these laws.

The Robinson-Patman Act (15 U.S.C. 13 (a)-(f)) specifically makes it unlawful for one engaged in commerce to discriminate in price between different purchasers of like commodities where "the effect ... may be substantially to lessen competition." Over the 60 plus years since this law was originally enacted, this language has been interpreted by courts as preventing governmental entities (except the federal government) from using their "purchasing power" to lessen competition -- especially in the area of pharmaceuticals. In the case of MMCAP contracts, the burden is on the member facility to ensure it is not in violation of Robinson-Patman.

Two seminal decisions involving the sale of pharmaceuticals and the application of the Robinson-Patman Act are Abbott Labs v. Portland Retail Druggists (425 U.S. 1 (1976)) and Jefferson County Pharmaceutical Association v. Abbott Labs (460 U.S. 150 (1983)).

In Portland the Supreme Court defined the concept of the "own use" exemption from Robinson-Patman. The Court concluded that the "own use" exemption extended to groups such as inpatients, hospital employees, students and dependents, but did not extend, for example, to walk-in customers with no present connection with the hospital or its pharmacy.

Jefferson addressed how Robinson-Patman applied to state purchases. There, the Court held that the sale of pharmaceutical products to state and local government hospitals for resale in competition with private pharmacies is not exempt from the proscriptions of Robinson-Patman. The Court also assumed that Congress did not intend Robinson-Patman to apply to state purchases for consumption in "traditional government functions."

These two decisions are the parameters within which MMCAP facilities must operate. Any MMCAP manufacturer can refuse to provide products to any MMCAP facility in circumstances where the manufacturer believes there is a violation of Robinson-Patman, Portland, or Jefferson.

MMCAP's position is that if a manufacturer refuses to provide products to an MMCAP facility, it is the member facility and the member state that must establish that they are not in violation. Facilities are also expected to provide assurances of compliance with Robinson-Patman upon request.

 

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