MPhA News

Small Doses

January 18, 2019
News from MPhA
MPhA Events
National News
Test Your Knowledge

News from MPhA

Mission Moments:

MPhA Board Members Volunteer at Open Arms

Many members of the MPhA Board of Directors spent part of their day on Jan. 11 volunteering at Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit that brings comfort, nutrition and support to our fellow community members who are living with life-threatening illnesses. Your board members prepped 40 lbs. of broccoli and 60 lbs. of cauliflower, chopped 30 lbs. of veggies, packaged 288 5-pack meals, bagged and tagged 172 muffins, and prepped 364 dessert packs. All those items and more were delivered to Minnesotans in need this week.

MPhA Board Members at Open Arms

Additional donations are welcome — give the gift of nourishment in honor of a loved one. A donation of $60 provides a week's worth of meals for a person living with a life-threatening illness. If you have more time than money, click here to fill out a volunteer profile so you can access the Open Arms online scheduling system for your next volunteer shift!

More photos can be found on the MPhA Facebook page.

Millonig Recognized with 2018 Weaver Medal

Marsha Millonig, MBA, BSPharm, a practicing pharmacist who works with both independent and chain pharmacies, has been selected as the 2018 Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal recipient. The award is given annually to someone who supports the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and its students through service to education, the profession, research and the community. She will receive the award at an event to be held this spring.

"It is such a humbling honor to be chosen to receive the Weaver Medal," Millonig said. "Larry and Dee Weaver were and are, respectively, colleagues, mentors and friends since I began studying pharmacy in 1979. They provided steadying hands during my entire career in both Minnesota and Washington, D.C. To receive recognition in their honor is so meaningful. More so is my selection by former recipients who represent such an esteemed group of colleagues of which I am so honored to become part of and I will continue to aspire to earn their respect." Read the full announcement.

Do you have news to share about MPhA members and their achievements? Help us spread the news about the good work that our members are doing across Minnesota! Send material to Communication Director Laurie Pumper at

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Wanted: Candidates for 2019 MPhA Board of Directors

The MPhA Leadership Development Committee is looking for members who are interested to serve on the Board of Directors and begin a two-year term in June 2019. We need the best skills, passion, and varied perspectives to build an energetic, inclusive, and strategic governing Board. Serving on the MPhA board of directors is an opportunity to provide leadership and direction to the association as we strive to meet our mission: Serving Minnesota pharmacists to advance patient care. With health reform implementation rapidly underway, it is a very exciting time to be at the table to discuss the changes that are occurring and help chart the course for the profession.

The deadline for submitting your nomination is March 1, 2019.

Submit a Nomination

If serving on the MPhA Board of Directors interests you, please fill out the online Call for Nominations form.

The Board of Directors is composed of the following members: President, Immediate Past President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, the Speaker and Vice Speaker of the House, two rural and two metro directors elected from nominees put forward by the districts/regional groups, five directors at-large elected from nominees put forward by the academies, a pharmacy technician ex-officio representative and ex-officio representatives of associate organizations. MPhA’s Board of Directors can recognize associate organizations who are comprised of pharmacists or student pharmacists that are independent of MPhA, but share common interests, members, and need for inter-organizational communication and coordination. Associate organizations are granted one seat on the MPhA Board of Directors ex officio without vote, which they may choose to exercise. The Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (MN-ASCP), the Minnesota College of Clinical Pharmacists (MCCP) and the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP) and the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy are associate organizations. Staggered terms have been established so that each year there are board positions up for re-election. This means the opportunity for fresh new ideas from energetic pharmacists to participate and make a difference!

In 2019, MPhA is seeking nominees/applicants for:

  • 3 Member-at-Large Positions
  • 1 Metro Board Member Position

The MPhA board of directors meets monthly with alternating 3-hour meetings (in person), and 1-hour meetings (via conference call). The incoming MPhA President has discretion to modify the schedule to best meet the needs of the board and the association. Board members are expected to bring issues to the board meetings on behalf of their constituency. Board members play an important role as liaisons to committees and participate in welcoming new pharmacists to the profession.

To learn more about the board of directors and MPhA, contact To apply, please submit your nomination now.

Submit a Nomination

In Memoriam: Vickie Thompson

Vickie (Erickson) Thompson, 59, wife of MPhA Past President Bruce Thompson, passed away on Jan. 11.

Recently retired from Maple Grove Hospital, Vickie spent her entire career in the medical field. She also did volunteer work for Safe Journey, Hands Helping Hands, and many other hospital functions. A vibrant woman with a love for travel, family and fashion, Vickie traveled the world with Bruce, loved spending time with the grandkids and family, and was always dressed for the occasion.

A celebration of her life will be held at 3 p.m. on Jan. 18, with visitation at 2 p.m., at Oxlip Church, 29237 Roanoke St NW, Isanti, MN 55040, with arrangements by Cremation Society of Minnesota. Vickie “dressed to the nines” for any occasion; to honor her memory and celebrate her life, the family has suggested that everyone try to dress in “Vickie style”. Memorials will be provided to Safe Journey and Maple Grove Hospital through North Memorial Foundation.

MPhA Events

Register Before Jan. 24 for Early Rates! 2019 Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

February 5, 2019 • Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, St. Paul

You can make a difference! Join us to advocate for your professional interests and for pharmacy’s interests to advance patient care — come to Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day! Even if you have never talked with, called or written your legislators before, this event will give you the tools you need to do so!

Friend of Pharmacy the Honorable Roz Peterson (former representative, R-56B) will open the day with insights from her decade serving as a legislator and interacting with colleagues as she moved pharmacy and other issues forward. Roz will provide a view from the inside of the Capitol and share tips for how to engage with your legislator for the maximum impact. We’ll celebrate her achievements as she is bestowed with the Friend of Pharmacy Award from the Minnesota pharmacy and retailer community.

Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day is the one annual event that represents the voice of all pharmacy settings in Minnesota for legislators, the governor and other policy makers! It is your opportunity to learn about the issues, gain the tools you need to advocate, and network with colleagues and the policymakers who will be supporting pharmacy’s issues. The day will feature a morning session, afternoon at the Capitol and an evening networking reception and program, complete with meals throughout the day and more than 5 hours of continuing education! This year we are back on the Capitol grounds at the Best Western Capitol Ridge with complimentary parking and within an easy walk of all your meetings.

The Minnesota Pharmacy Alliance, MPhA, MSHP, the Minnesota Retailers Association and the Minnesota Grocers Association look forward to seeing you there!

Register Online

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break: Medication Recycling

February 20, 2019 • Online Webinar

More than 40% of Americans report struggling to pay for their medications. At the same time, every year Long Term Care (LTC) facilities in the United States (including Minnesota) are throwing away billions of dollars worth of safe medication. Medication repositories allow LTC facilities to donate their unused, safe medications that would otherwise be wasted to patients who can’t afford them. Medication repositories can lower the cost of medication, improve health care outcomes, reduce health care spending at the state level, and even remove pollutants from the environment. Twenty-one states already have functioning medication repository programs, but state law currently prohibits this common-sense solution in Minnesota.

Register Online


Rowan Mahon holds an MPH from the University of Minnesota and is currently a PharmD/MHI student at the University. In 2017 she founded the Public-health Advocacy Student Alliance, which is an interprofessional student organization at the University of Minnesota representing different health care professions including Pharmacy, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Healthcare Administration. PHASA works under the mission of empowering students to improve health disparities through policy and advocacy measures. Rowan was the head organizer for PHASA’s legislative effort and played a key role in forming the legislation that was created last session.

Registration Fees

The cost is $25 for non-members. MPhA pharmacist members, pharmacy technician members and student members may attend at no cost.

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

April 4

MSHP/MPhA Joint CE Town Hall
St. Cloud Area

May 6-9, 2019

U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation Conference

June 12, 2019

MPhA Leadership Summit and House of Delegates Meeting
Midland Hills Country Club, St. Paul

National News

Walmart Dispute with CVS Caremark Pharmacy Networks Highlights Low Reimbursement

An article published in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 15 stated that Walmart was expected to leave CVS Caremark pharmacy networks because of a dispute over the cost of filling prescriptions. Different versions of the story emerged. The disagreement, which was resolved on Jan. 18, pointed up the low reimbursement rates that CVS Caremark provides to pharmacies.

CVS Caremark said Walmart wants an increase in payments for prescriptions. CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefits unit of CVS Health which is separate from CVS retail stores, reimburses pharmacies when patients buy medicine. But someone familiar with Walmart’s position says the retail giant didn’t ask CVS to increase the amount it pays when people fill a prescription—rather, Walmart was apparently asking CVS Caremark to maintain rates at current levels. On Twitter, a number of pharmacy organizations and individual pharmacists sided with Walmart’s version of the story.

Financial terms of the new contract between Walmart and CVS Caremark were not disclosed.


Test Your Knowledge

Show what You Know about Pharmacy

The 2017-2018 influenza season was particularly severe. Do you remember how many Americans died as a result?

The CDC noted that 80,000 Americans died of the flu last season, and there were a record estimated 900,000 hospitalizations. 90% of the deaths were in people over age 65, but the flu also killed 180 children and teenagers.