MPhA News

Small Doses

October 6, 2017
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

MPhA member Laura Palombi wrote a commentary that appeared on the MinnPost website on Oct. 2, explaining the need for “critical steps that needs to be taken quickly to save lives.” Laura reported that public forums have educated more than 1,000 Minnesotans about prevention, intervention and stigma-reducing work related to opioid use disorder.

MPhA member Stephen Schondelmeyer made a presentation to the University of Minnesota Dakota County Alumni Network recently, addressing the Affordable Care Act, potential changes to health care and the future of health care and prescription drugs in the U.S.

Editor’s Note: During our recent Annual Learning Networking Event, MPhA made note of Mission Moments — those times when a member clearly exemplified our mission to advance patient care. As we move forward through the coming year, we hope to showcase these Mission Moments as part of Small Doses. If you have an example to share, please send it to Laurie Pumper

Minnesota News

Minnesota Department of Health Offers New E-Prescribing Resources

Two new e-prescribing resources are now available on the Minnesota Department of Health’s e-prescribing webpage. The FAQ for e-Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) provides general information on EPCS and the Minnesota e-Prescribing Mandate Fact sheet summarizes the Minnesota Statutes 62J.42 that requires the e-prescribing of all prescriptions including controlled substances. EPCS helps to reduce fraud and abuse of controlled substance and is one way to use e-health to prevent and respond to the opioid misuse and overdose.

Stratis Health Offers Free One-Day Workshop on Motivational Interviewing

Five Dates/Locations Around Minnesota

You work with patients to address their depression, alcohol misuse, or other behavioral health concerns. Or you counsel patients to quit smoking, eat better, exercise more, adhere to the medication that's been prescribed, or make other changes to their health behaviors. Helping patients make positive changes in their health behaviors can feel like the most challenging part of health care. It can feel like we are doing all the work, our priorities aren't aligned, and goals are set but never achieved. Motivational Interviewing offers an evidence-based model for effective conversations about change.

Mia Croyle, MA, is an experienced mental health counselor who specializes in behavior change and is a trainer and coach for Motivational Interviewing. Her research and publications focus on behavioral screenings and interventions. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and has facilitated learning workshops for professionals around the nation.

October 17, 2017 - Twin Cities - Register.
October 18, 2017 - Mankato - Register.
October 25, 2017 - St. Cloud - Register.
November 2, 2017 - Fargo - Register.
November 3, 2017 - Brainerd - Register.

If you have questions, contact Jane Gendron, 952-853-8534,

Use Your Member Benefits

Get Smart about Your Student Loan Repayment Options: MPhA Membership Benefit

Many pharmacists have incurred steep education debt by the time they begin practicing. Loan relief programs can reduce a major source of stress and save thousands of dollars for pharmacists on their student loans. MPhA is partnering with Navigate, LLC for student loan expert advice.

Schedule your student loan consultation today. MPhA members receive over 50% off regular rates. A regular public service loan consult would be $1,000 — but MPhA members are able to receive this consult for $395. A regular loan refinance consult would be $500 but MPhA members are able to receive this service for $195. That’s a savings of $305-$605 and provides an incredible return on your MPhA membership investment. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Navigate’s principal, Joy Sorenson Navarre, is a national expert on student loan management who consults individually with physicians and pharmacists. She is a popular speaker at residency programs, medical schools and hospitals. Her articles appear in journals and websites throughout the medical community.

Schedule your phone appointment today. Get smart about your student loan repayment options and take advantage of this important MPhA member benefit

National News

October Is American Pharmacists Month

American Pharmacists Month (APhM) is perfect time to celebrate the vital role you play in health care. You and your fellow pharmacists make a difference every day, so use APhM to show off what you can do, emphasizing the APhM theme, “Know your pharmacist, know your medicine.”

On October 11, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) will showcase pharmacists’ services and skills while helping members of Congress and their aides prepare for cold and flu season during APhA’s annual Health Fair in Washington, D.C.

The CDC is hosting an American Pharmacists Month Webinar Series, every Wednesday in October at Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT. Topics covered:

  • October 4: Medication Adherence and Advanced Pharmacy Services and Adverse Drug Events
  • October 11: Antibiotic Stewardship and HIV Prevention by the Pharmacist
  • October 18: National Diabetes Prevention Program, Medication-related Fall Prevention in Older Adults, and Medication Use in Pregnancy
  • October 25: Opioid Overdose Epidemic and Immunizations

Webinar: (Click “Enter as Guest”)
Phone: 888-819-8867, Passcode 1813244

APhA would also love to share your celebrations this year. Use #APhM2017 on social media or send your photos and videos with a brief description of your celebration to Please also let MPhA know what you and your pharmacy are planning; email today.

Medicare “DIR Fee” Legislation Would Save Government Billions

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Oct. 2: Eliminating retroactive pharmacy payment reductions — or post point-of-sale pharmacy "DIR fees" — in Medicare Part D would save the federal government $3.4 billion over 10 years, according to a Wakely Consulting Group study released on Oct. 2 by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). The report evaluates the impact of enacting the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act (H.R. 1038/S. 413), which prohibits retroactive pharmacy payment reductions on "clean claims" (those without any defect, impropriety or fraud) in Medicare Part D.

Among the key findings of the study:

  • The elimination of retroactive pharmacy payment reductions (a portion of DIR, or direct and indirect remuneration), and instead shifting them to equivalent point-of-sale price concessions, would save the federal government $3.4 billion in Part D payments made to plan sponsors between 2018 and 2027.
  • CMS would spend less on federal reinsurance and low-income cost-sharing subsidies. The presence of additional discounts would contribute to lower total drug costs at the point-of-sale. This would decrease the federal government subsidy of low-income cost-sharing amounts while keeping low-income patient pay amounts relatively steady.
  • The decrease in total drug cost at point-of-sale would also lower the amount of claim dollars in the catastrophic phase of the Part D benefit, because claims and amounts accumulating toward the true out-of-pocket catastrophic threshold would be lower.

PBMs have erroneously claimed that making any changes to DIR fees will drive up costs, both for the government and beneficiaries. However, the Wakely analysis, which included scenario testing of key assumptions, makes clear that eliminating retroactive pharmacy DIR fees would reduce overall prescription drug costs for the government, and patients would see savings at the pharmacy counter. Wakely Consultants calculated that any minor increase in beneficiary premiums would be largely offset by out-of-pocket savings at the pharmacy counter. In sum, taking into account both lower patient copays or cost-sharing and slightly increased premiums, beneficiaries may see an increase in net costs of 0.15 percent per year or a 1.5 percent increase in net costs over the course of 10 years.

USP Postpones Chapter 800 Until 2019

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Oct. 2: On Sept. 29, USP announced its intent to postpone the official date of General Chapter 800 Hazardous Drugs – Handling in Healthcare Settings. The announcement has implications for both USP 800 and USP 797 Pharmaceutical Compounding – Sterile Preparations. The intent of the USP Expert Committee is to align Chapters 800 and 797, providing a unified approach to compounding. The next revision to General Chapter 797 is anticipated to be published in September/October 2018 for a second round of public comment. Both USP General Chapter 797 and USP General Chapter 800 are anticipated to become official on December 1, 2019. Sections of the revised 797 may have longer implementation dates that will allow time for adoption of the standard. The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) welcomes this delay and will continue to work to educate State Boards of Pharmacy, who have full oversight of USP, about the impacts to community pharmacies and patients.

MPhA Events

Register Now: Southeast Minnesota Pharmacist Night Extravaganzapalooza in Rochester

Thursday, October 12, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. CDT

Join us for an interactive evening and town hall as area pharmacists from the 11 counties of the Southeast District of MPhA gather and welcome current President Michelle Aytay and MPhA Interim Executive Director Marsha Millonig to Rochester on Thursday evening, October 12, at the Kahler Apache Hotel with food provided by The Canadian Honker. Our meal is provided through the gracious support of Pharmaceutical Specialties of Rochester, makers of Vanicream and the new Vanicream Z-Bar. (

Marsha will provide a dynamic session entitled “21st Century Cures Act,” in which you will learn the goals of this wide reaching legislation, the major provisions within each of the Act’s core areas of discovery, development and delivery of medical products, and how patients, researchers, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, payers and health care providers will be impacted by the Act. The session is approved for 1 hour CE with the MN Board of Pharmacy.

Michelle and Sherwood will then lead the town hall portion of the evening where we can have a good opportunity to share our ideas, concerns and thoughts with each other and MPhA leadership. The Town Hall will begin with thoughts from the University of Minnesota’s new Dean Lynda Welage. Our District has a long history of hosting the Dean, including Dean Banker and Dean Speedie.

The event begins with registration and networking at 5:30 p.m. We promise to adjourn by 8 p.m.


  • An elegant display of domestic and imported cheeses, garnished with mixed nuts and dried berries, served with an assortment of gourmet crackers
  • Fresh fruit display, served with yogurt dip
  • Fresh vegetable crudité display, served with assorted dips
  • Tomato bruschetta — Chef Le’s recipe topped with parmesan cheese and served with crostini
  • Egg rolls — served with sweet chili sauce
  • Bacon-wrapped chestnuts
  • Tempura chicken sautéed in a Szechuan sauce
  • Smoked lox of Salmon garnished with assorted accompaniments and served with gourmet crackers
  • Stuffed mushrooms with Italian sausage
  • Bunny's world-famous secret recipe coconut cake!
    Complimentary soft drinks/water plus cash bar.

Members attend FREE. Non-members are $15. Please register by Monday, October 9, 2017.

Please register by Monday, October 9, 2017.

October 12, 2017 • Rochester, MN
Members attend FREE • Non-members are $15.

Register Online

Register Now: Effective Advocacy Involvement in the Policymaking Process

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break • Wednesday, October 18,
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CDT

Join Buck Humphrey for MPhA's October Virtual Coffee Break. In today's turbulent and rapidly changing health care environment, pharmacy professionals are needed more than ever to explain how pharmacy helps to create healthier communities and why our services deserve recognition. The involvement of pharmacists in all settings, plus pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students, is essential. After participating in this Virtual Coffee Break Webinar, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the biannual cycle of the Minnesota Legislature.
  • List the committees of most influence for Minnesota pharmacy advocacy work.
  • Explain the steps needed to sign up for Committee notices and contact your legislator.
  • Describe steps to build relationships with policymakers and the right congressional staffers.
  • Explain how to generate impactful opportunities to connect with policymakers.
  • Develop a plan of activities to establish a stronger relationship with an elected official.

Members attend FREE. Non-members are $25. Student pharmacists and residents are provided a complimentary registration.

Register Online

Duluth Area Pharmacists/MPhA Town Hall

Tuesday, November 7, 5 p.m. CST

Please join the Duluth Area Pharmacists and MPhA for an advocacy update and a lively discussion with Pharmacy Advocacy Task Force Lobbyist Buck Humphrey. Buck will share Minnesota’s advocacy plans for the next session and he is inviting some area legislators to join. Our evening will close with an interactive Town Hall discussion with MPhA President Elect Jason Varin and Interim Executive Director Marsha Millonig. This is your chance to mingle with peers and have your voice heard!

Meal is on your own; CE is free for MPhA members.
Location: Pickwick Restaurant and Pub, Duluth

Register Online

Grand Rapids Area Pharmacists/MPhA Town Hall

Thursday, November 9, 5:30-8 p.m. CST

GRAPh’s host is MPhA member Heather Bibeau with speaker Denise Frank. Denise will cover the history and content of the NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs (HDs) in Healthcare Settings, and USP Chapter 800 as it applies to all pharmacies. Additionally, we will discuss in more detail the requirements and process for a pharmacy to list HDs in stock and for performing a risk assessment. We will also review the physical requirements of the pharmacy, personal protective equipment (PPE), and staff training requirements. MPhA Interim Executive Director Marsha Millonig will lead the Town Hall discussion.

Location: Timberlake Lodge, 144 SE 17th St., Grand Rapids, Minn.
Members attend FREE. Non-members are $15.

Register Online

Did You Know?

Helping Those Hit by Hurricane Maria

Axel Vazquez Deida (who served as Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance Duluth campus president last year) is among those with ties to Puerto Rico. While things are beginning to improve in some parts of the U.S. territory, a great deal of support is needed to provide water, food and shelter. Many communities remain isolated and in need of supplies. If you are able to and would like to help either directly by donating items or indirectly via a financial donation there are multiple ways for you to do so:

United for Puerto Rico: An initiative brought forward by the First Lady of Puerto Rico specifically to aid communities affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. All donations will go directly to supplies and basic needs/essentials for those who lost everything across the island.

Save the Children Hurricane Maria Children's Relief Fund

UNICEF USA Disaster Relief Fund for countries/islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the recent earthquakes in Mexico.

The University of Puerto Rico APhA-ASP chapter is also collecting supplies that can be mailed to the following address: Oficina de Asuntos Estudiantiles, Escuela de Farmacia UPR, P.O. Box 365067, San Juan, PR 00936-5067