Pharmacists in Action, December 2012

What pharmacists are doing across the country

Pharmacists: First responders

For pharmacy, the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey and New York proved one central concept very clearly: pharmacists are first responders—true heroes in many cases—and states need to understand that we are necessary elements in responding to disasters.

As reported on soon after the storm hit, the situation in New York was a bit simpler to handle from pharmacy’s perspective. While many New York City pharmacies were flooded, damaged, and without power, state officials in Albany were able to get to work, post announcements by e-mail and online, and generally operate in a business-as-usual fashion. Emergency provisions in state laws and regulations were invoked, Craig Burridge and his colleagues at the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) were able to get the word out, and pharmacists who could at least use their cell phones were kept informed.

New Jersey was a different matter. Widespread power outages shut down not only pharmacies but the state government as well. The New Jersey Pharmacists Association (NJPhA) had to cancel the last day of its annual meeting in Atlantic City as the storm approached. Several days elapsed before NJPhA executive Elise M. Barry was able to obtain guidance from the state board of pharmacy on how pharmacists should help when pharmacy computer systems and records were destroyed, displaced patients had no empty bottles to show what medication regimens they were on, and physician offices were out of operation.

To the pharmacists who struggled through this disaster and to those independent pharmacists who are still trying to figure out if it’s even possible to rebuild, I want to express my personal thanks and encouragement for proving again that our profession is one on which Americans can rely. Many pharmacists, knowing that their own homes were in ruins, focused solely on the welfare of their patients. As Jerry Della Ragione and Lou Spadafora, owners of Staten Island’s Midland Pharmacy, wrote in an e-mail message after Superstorm Sandy, “The death and destruction is unfathomable. Our community is desperate and needs us now more than ever. Please—we need your help and [that of whomever] you know to help us.”

APhA, the APhA Foundation, PSSNY, and NJPhA responded to such pleas by encouraging contributions to the National Community Pharmacists Association Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund. If you’re looking to help someone this holiday season, make your donation online at

To Jerry, Lou, and all the others who showed Americans once again why they trust pharmacists so much, thank you. To public health officials everywhere, pharmacists want to be in the loop in disaster-response plans. Please include us up front so that we can be there when the chips are down. As PSSNY’s Selig Corman explained in a article, “Disasters occur. When someone is without their medications, it’s a serious problem.”


Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon)
Executive Vice President and CEO

[There is a need] for a different approach to drug policy, one that treats drug addiction as a disease … We cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem.

National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske in a speech about drug policy reform at the Center for American Progress. See related article on page 62.


The number of young people aged 12 years to 25 years who used prescription drugs nonmedically within the past year.

Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010.

APhA Foundation ‘steps out’ to support diabetes

The APhA Foundation celebrated American Pharmacists Month by participating in the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. In collaboration with ADA, the APhA Foundation formed a team called Pharmacists and Friends to participate in the walk. Team members raised funds through individual sponsorship that will be split equally between the APhA Foundation and ADA. APhA Foundation staff members Lynette Sappe-Watkins and Caroline Shedlock participated in the 3.1-mile walk held in the Washington, DC, area.

Both organizations focus on improving the lives of people living with diabetes. The APhA Foundation leads Project IMPACT: Diabetes, a national program that works to enhance diabetes care for patients through community-based health care teams that include pharmacists. ADA funds research, increases public awareness, and advocates on behalf of those living with the disease.

The APhA Foundation plans to extend its partnership with ADA to include future fundraising events in 2013.

Members are talking about …

The Preceptor Special Interest Group (SIG) is a new e-Community designed for pharmacists who share an interest in precepting student pharmacists and pharmacy residents.

The Preceptor SIG provides an interactive environment where pharmacists who precept students and residents have the opportunity to communicate and get feedback on precepting strategies, challenges and solutions, and opportunities for preceptor growth and development. Pharmacists can ask questions and get answers based on real-life scenarios.

For more information about APhA’s eCommunities, log in at APhA’s recently published Getting Started as a Pharmacy Preceptor is available for purchase on APhA members receive a 20% discount on APhA titles.

A minute with

Susan Holden, PharmD
Outpatient Clinical Pharmacist
VA Boston Healthcare System
West Roxbury, MA
Member since 2000

I joined APhA because … when I was a student at the University of Connecticut, I quickly developed a sincere interest in the profession, and my friends encouraged me to participate in Association activities. As a pharmacist, I continue my membership and am actively involved because I benefit daily from the work of APhA. From learning to immunize patients, to offering MTM services, to advocating for pharmacists, I continue to see opportunities for pharmacists to grow.

My most memorable APhA experience … occurred August 27 of this year when I was “CEO of APhA” for a day. Learning throughout the excellent experience with Tom Menighan, the staffers at APhA, and the Foundation showed me how hard the organization is working every day to advance our profession. I also enjoyed and profited from time on Capitol Hill meeting with congressional aides from my state, and I saw how I can take my own steps toward moving pharmacy forward.

The advice I give to pharmacists who want to follow my career path … is always stay right outside your comfort zone. It’s a cliché, but it’s true; nothing worthwhile is ever easy (and oftentimes, it’s a little uncomfortable). The best opportunities happen when we push ourselves beyond our own limits.

If I weren’t a pharmacist, I’d be a … personal shopper for J.Crew. Actually, if I had time at the end of the week, I’d still probably try!

On the go

APhA leaders and staff travel each month to promote the profession and serve as the voice of pharmacy. Here is a sample of their recent travels.

  • Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, visited the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy. He met with John Vandel, BSPharm, Dean of the School of Pharmacy; Joe Steiner, PharmD, Dean of the College of Health Sciences; and the School of Pharmacy Leadership Group. He also attended Vandel’s Advisory Committee meeting and spoke to a group of around 50 faculty, benefactors, alumni, and student leaders about the present and future of pharmacy. Laramie, WY
  • Mitch Rothholz, BSPharm, MBA, Chief Strategy Officer at APhA, and Menighan visited the new Washington, DC, offices of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Menighan met with Doug Henley, MD, CEO of AAFP, to discuss Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) programs and physician requirements for mandatory continuing education in the opioid REMS program. Washington, DC
  • Menighan, Megan Coder, PharmD, Director of Professional Affairs at the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, and Brian Lawson, PharmD, Director of Professional Affairs at the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS), attended the International Pharmaceutical Federation Centennial Congress. At the Symposium for Pharmacy Technicians, Coder presented a case study on North American pharmacy technicians and spoke about certification as a mechanism for credentialing technicians in the United States and Canada. This is the first time BPS exhibited at the meeting, and Lawson promoted BPS as international interest in certification continues to grow. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Members only

Sandra Leal, PharmD, Director of the Clinical Pharmacy Program at the El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson, AZ, developed a program where clinical pharmacists play a key therapeutic role in helping patients with diabetes. In this model, clinical pharmacists conduct a comprehensive audit of the patient’s charts, lab work, medications, vaccines, tests, and other information.

John R. Reynolds, PharmD, Dean of the Northeastern University School of Pharmacy, and more than 275 alumni, distinguished faculty, and students helped celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. It’s the “enduring commitment to excellence that drives us forward every day,” said Reynolds during the anniversary celebration.

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy students Ashley Krumenacker, Antonella Frattarelli, and Jonathan Feathers set up a table outside of City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s office at Philadelphia’s City Hall to educate people about the important role of pharmacists. The student pharmacists also displayed a proclamation signed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter that declared October 2012 American Pharmacists Month in the city.

Javier Rodriguez, BSPharm, a pharmacist at the Target Pharmacy in Edgewater, NJ, went above and beyond to help patients in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. He used his professional judgment to provide a 3- to 5-day supply of medications to patients who urgently needed them and handwrote prescription information on blank labels that he dispensed with medications. He also set up a charging station for cell phones and provided electrical outlets to patients who needed power to run or recharge their medical equipment.

APhA named Ashley S. Crumby, PharmD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Purdue University College of Pharmacy, a Distinguished New Practitioner for 2013. The award recognizes a practitioner within his or her first 5 years of practice who has demonstrated distinctive achievements in mentorship, service, and commitment to the profession.

Members can share news about promotions, new positions, and awards with the rest of APhA by e-mailing the details—who, what, when, and where—to Photographs, in the form of high-resolution TIFF or JPEG files, are welcome.

An updated resource for pharmacy compounding

Pharmacy compounding is a fundamental part of pharmacy practice. Compounding demands a delicate balance of science and art, and pharmacists need resources that support the development of compounding skills. The newly updated fourth edition of The Art, Science, and Technology of Pharmaceutical Compounding by Loyd V. Allen Jr. is an indispensable resource for pharmacists in any practice setting interested in a comprehensive guide to pharmacy compounding.

The book covers a wide spectrum of compounding content. Early chapters review foundational information such as necessary supplies and equipment, pharmaceutical calculations, and record keeping. Later chapters discuss unique situations such as compounding for natural disasters, clinical trials, or veterinary purposes. Much of the book is devoted to providing valuable information about the range of compounded dosage forms.

Each chapter gives detailed, clear facts about the selected dosage form, including methods to ensure quality control, pertinent patient counseling points, and guidance for determining beyond-use dates. Helpful hints for compounding each dosage form are highlighted within the main content, and practical tables, graphics, and templates are peppered throughout the text. Allen also weaves sample formulations and detailed recipes throughout the book to help the reader immediately apply important concepts. While the book does include many sample formulations, it is not meant to serve as a complete list of available compounding recipes.

The Art, Science, and Technology of Pharmaceutical Compounding is a thorough, yet tractable, reference for any pharmacist who compounds or has an interest in learning more about compounding. The book anticipates and addresses questions a pharmacist may have about how to incorporate compounding into practice. The logical flow, clear language, and wealth of compounding information make the book a handy and essential reference.

Rachel Maynard, PharmD
Shaw’s/Osco Pharmacy

Loyd V. Allen Jr.
4th Edition
ISBN: 978-1-58212-164-2
Hardcover; 592 pp.
List price: $89.95
APhA member price: $72.00

Did you know …

APhA pharmacist members in their first 5 years of practice are automatically enrolled in the New Practitioner Network, providing them with additional benefits and services as well as discounted APhA dues for the first 3 years of practice.

The mission of the APhA New Practitioner Network is to support the transition from student to pharmacist by helping new graduates discover opportunities in pharmacy, develop themselves and their professional network, and empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to define the future of their profession.

The 2012–13 New Practitioner Advisory Committee continues to focus on education and professional development, membership and involvement, a new branding campaign, and enhanced APhA2013 programming exclusive to recent graduates.

As a new practitioner member, you can get involved by providing support to student pharmacists through the APhA New Practitioner Mentor Program. The program is off to a flying start this fall—75 new practitioners and counting are assisting APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) Chapter members with their patient care projects and are gearing up to provide support at the local level for the National Patient Counseling Competition.

New practitioners also had a presence at all eight of the recent APhA–ASP Midyear Regional Meetings (MRMs). They provided presentations, discussed postgraduate opportunities at the MRM Expo, and highlighted professional and personal development issues experienced by recent graduates.

For more information on the New Practitioner Network, visit

JFPS 2012: Education, networking, collaboration

Jenelle L. Sobotka, PharmD, FAPhA, President of APhA, welcomed the JFPS 2012 attendees to their annual education meeting. From left: Col Mike Spilker, Air Force Pharmacy Consultant; COL Cathy Benham, Army Reserve Pharmacy Consultant, representing COL Carol Labadie, Army Pharmacy Consultant; Sobotka; CAPT Deborah Thompson, Coast Guard Pharmacy Consultant; CAPT Ed Norton, Navy Pharmacy Consultant; Maj John Catoe, 2012 Joint Force Planning Committee Chairman.

Almost 500 members from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard pharmacy community gathered for the 18th annual 2012 Joint Forces Pharmacy Seminar (JFPS) last month in San Diego. The educational meeting was open to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from the active duty, reserve, and retired communities, as well as civilian pharmacists and technicians assigned to the Department of Defense or Coast Guard. Organizers were pleased with this year’s turnout, given the travel challenges caused by Superstorm Sandy and federal travel budget constraints.

The plenary and breakout educational sessions and presentations re were of exceptionally high quality this year. Motivational speaker Dave Carey, a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, drew on his experiences from more than 5 years as a prisoner of war in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” to share lessons on meeting the challenges of leadership and using creative problem solving under adverse circumstances. RADM Thomas McGinnis, Pharmacist Chief, Pharmaceutical Operations Directorate Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, gave an update on TRICARE management activity. The Joint Forces Chief Pharmacists discussed strategies for taking care of Joint Forces Pharmacy beneficiaries, medical treatment facility recapture initiatives related to the retail network, and pharmacists’ involvement in polypharmacy. Other educational sessions included electronic prescribing to military treatment facility pharmacies and the important role of pharmacy technicians in the military.

In addition to the educational sessions, JFPS was a wonderful opportunity for pharmacists to meet with exhibitors to learn about new products and innovative technology. The meeting was an ideal venue for Department of Defense and Coast Guard technicians and pharmacists to network, collaborate, share best practices, and learn what’s happening in the other services.

Mark your calendars for JFPS 2013, which takes place October 20–24 in Orlando, FL!

APhA accepting applications for excellence in 340B pharmacy practice

APhA is seeking organizations of all sizes and types to apply for the prestigious status of a 340B Peer-to-Peer Leading Practice Site. The 340B Peer-to-Peer Program uses objective criteria to identify the strengths of entities in a variety of settings that have proven leading practices. The Peer-to-Peer Network is a way for 340B leading practice sites to share ideas and mentor other 340B sites.

In 2010, 11 340B-covered entities were identified as Peer-to-Peer leading practice sites. Seven leading practice sites were added in February 2012, and four more sites were added in September 2012. These sites share their expertise with all other entities to help maximize the value of the 340B program.

Benefits of a recognized site

340B Peer-to-Peer Leading Practice Sites are the gold standard for 340B pharmacy practice. Entities that achieve this status will be in a unique position to demonstrate their outstanding practices of improved access, quality, operations, and outcomes to support the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) integrity efforts. Selected entities will receive the following:

  • A participation plaque
  • Acknowledgement in publications
  • Membership in APhA for three leadership team members
  • Peer-to-Peer annual stipends: 10 new contracts with leading practice sites resulting in a $10,000-per-year stipend. A monthly report on 340B environment achievements is required, including a minimum of two mentors with a senior leader, and listserv participation of at least two posts per month per mentor.
  • Financial support for select conference attendance to represent 340B stakeholders
  • Participation in quarterly conference calls with APhA and the HRSA Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) leadership
  • The opportunity to share knowledge and make a difference by presenting at workshops, national webinars, and regional conference calls

All types of 340B entities are welcome to apply, especially those organizations that fall under one of the following categories:

  • Rural entities: critical access hospitals, sole community hospitals, and rural referral centers
  • Hospitals: disproportionate share hospitals, free standing cancer hospitals, and children’s hospitals
  • Community health centers: 330 grantees, centers for patients who are homeless or disadvantaged
  • HIV Ryan White/AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP): Part A, Part B, non-ADAP, B-ADAP, direct purchase, and rebate models
  • Family planning, tuberculosis, or sexually transmitted disease clinics
  • Sites with an active college of pharmacy internship program

Entities that use a contract pharmacy arrangement are encouraged to apply in partnership with the contract pharmacy leadership

Make connections, help others

Participation in this recognition program will help increase the understanding of the issues that covered entities face in implementing and maintaining the 340B program. The program connects 340B stakeholders to form partnerships, strengthens pre- and postgraduate training of the next generation of pharmacists in 340B, promotes the expansion of clinical pharmacy services in underserved communities, and allows covered entities to share their experiences with the 340B program.

To learn more about the 340B Peer-to-Peer program, or to apply, visit and click the “340B” tab at the bottom of the screen.

Stephanie Rilei
Contributing writer


New cases of tuberculosis in the United States in 2011

Source: CDC.