Pharmacy News

Entries for June 2015

What's Your Number? Body Mass Index
by Lara Alexander, CPhT, RMC, MSPT immediate past president

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an estimate of body fat and is a useful measure of your risk for diseases that can occur with overweight and obesity. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a healthy weight is defined as the appropriate body weight in relation to your height.  This ratio of weight to height is known as your BMI. BMI can be used for most men and women, but it is not an absolute. It can overestimate the body fat in those with a muscular build (athletes), and it can give an underestimate in body fat for those who have lost muscle (elderly, sick, etc.). Generally speaking, a high BMI means that you have too much body weight or fat in relation to your height. The higher the BMI, the higher the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. BMI for ages 2-20 is determined by using a BMI table that compares weight and height along with growth charts. The growth chart uses the BMI, age and gender to produce a BMI percentile. For more information about BMI percentile and growth charges for children, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site. For adults over 20 years of age, you can manually calculate your BMI using the following formula:

BMI = (weight in pounds x 703)
                height in inches2

  1. Multiply your weight, in pounds, by 703 (example: if you are 150 pounds, 150 x 703 = 105,450).
  2. Convert your height into inches (multiply the number of feet by 12 and add it to the number of extra inches; example: if you are 5 feet 4 inches tall, [5 x 12] + 4 = 64”.  Now, multiply your answer by itself.  64 x 64 = 4,096)
  3. Divide the first figure by the second (example: 105,450/4,096 = 25.74. The BMI would be 25.74).

The weight status categories below in Table 1 are those currently used by the CDC. They are suitable for adults who have stopped growing.

Table 1. BMI Weight Categories

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25-29.9 Overweight
30.0 + Obese

Posted in: Professional Practice
TECH SPOTLIGHT: Angela Faszczewski, CPhT, Ehardt’s Pharmacy and Medical Supply, Croswell

I started as a front-end/HBA coordinator at a 10-store independent chain pharmacy and was asked to move into the pharmacy shortly thereafter. I’ve always been interested in the medical field and have also worked as a certified nursing assistant, a receptionist in a chiropractor’s office and as the front office coordinator for an endocrinology practice. Early in my career, the timing just wasn’t right for me to move on to pharmacy or nursing school and practicing as a technician offered me a secure position that allowed me to remain in the medical field.

I was recruited to work in the pharmacy in 1990 by a wonderful mentor (Clyde Furuta) who taught me about every aspect of pharmacy and encouraged me to run with it as far as I could. I took a short course at Bi-County Hospital, studied independently and took the exam that was provided by MPA at the time. I became certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board in 1997. I was with M & R Drugs for two years, Manella Chiropractic for one year, the Endocrinology and Diabetes Center of Port Huron for five years, and then took one year off to spend with my new baby. I have since been with Ehardt’s Pharmacy & Medical Supply since 1997. I think having been on both the prescriber and pharmacy side has given me some special insight and advantages and has helped me facilitate operations and communications between the practices.

Advocating for and educating my patients truly makes my day. I thrive on solving a problem that everyone has given up on or not even bothered to tackle. Something as simple as helping a patient set up a medication dispenser for home use or as complex as helping them apply for patient assistance programs, finding more affordable medication alternatives or assisting with prior authorizations gives me great satisfaction at the end of the day!

I was feeling boxed in and stagnant at my current position and I wanted to explore new opportunities and challenge myself to get out of that box by doing something different and maybe even a little uncomfortable. I had been attending the MPA Annual Convention & Exposition regularly for several years. I was committed to having the technician licensure law passed and wanted to be more involved in making that happen. With the passing of this law, it is now more important than ever for technicians to become invested in their profession; this is no longer just a “job.” Membership in MSPT/MPA gives you access to many resources and opportunities for you to maximize your personal and professional development.

Outside of pharmacy, I have been an active member at my children’s schools by serving as a member and president of the Parent-Teacher Association and Band Boosters and as a dedicated sports mom. Currently, I serve as a clinic volunteer and as a Board trustee of the Caring Hearts Health Clinic, which provides free health care to residents of Sanilac County. I am also a member of the Michigan Volunteer Registry. Within MPA, I have served on the MSPT Executive Committee since 2012, the Patient Safety Task Force in 2013 and as a guest member of the Michigan Society of Community Pharmacists Board since 2014.

I have been a “summer brat” resident of the lakeshore village of Lexington my entire life and made it my permanent home with my husband and daughters in 1994, where, ironically, I love the beach but hate the sand. I am an avid reader and like nothing better than to sit on the deck and devour a good book on a sunny day.

Posted in: Member News
Michigan Governor Signs Act to Extend Technician Licensure Deadline

On June 25, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 91 of 2015, which amended the effective date for pharmacy technician licensure to Oct. 1, 2015. Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) and other groups advocated for the extension period due to the large amount of applications received that are still being processed.


Additionally, last week, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) updated their pharmacy technician FAQs document to address some of our members’ concerns related to the dispensing process. The document states:


“To dispense medication means to issue one or more doses of a drug for subsequent administration to, or use by, a patient. The dispensing process for medication begins when medication is placed in an approved container pursuant to a prescription. The dispensing process for medication ends when the container is closed and a label containing the information required by MCL 333.17745(6) is affixed to that container.


An individual who handles the container after that point does not need to have a pharmacy technician license as long the container is not opened or the label is not changed or replaced; this will include the handling of the container to complete the payment transaction for the prescription.”


The full FAQ document can be accessed online. MPA will continue to advocate for this issue. If you have any concerns, please e-mail Eric Roath, MPA director of professional practice, at


To get the most up-to-date information related to technician licensure, visit the Technician Licensure page on the MPA Web site or the LARA Web site. As a reminder, it takes approximately 6-8 weeks to process each application. Please allow adequate time before contacting the Department.

Posted in: Laws and Regulations
MPA CEO and Member Pharmacist Appointed to Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Task Force

On June 18, 2015, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the creation of a Task Force that will aim to address the growing prescription drug and opioid problem in Michigan. Chaired by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force was formed as the result of a call for a comprehensive plan to address prescription drug and opioid abuse in Gov. Snyder’s 2015 State of the State address. The group will examine trends, evaluate strategic options and develop a statewide action plan by the fall of 2015. The 21-member Task Force consists of state government representatives, legislators, law enforcement, a prosecutor and a district judge, and representatives from various health care disciplines, including pharmacy. MPA Chief Executive Officer Larry Wagenknecht as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Director of Pharmacy Services Clinical Laurie Wesolowicz, a member of MPA, will serve as part of the group. For more information, please see the state of Michigan’s press release online.

Posted in: Member News
Michigan Pharmacy Foundation Seeking Trustee Nominations

Michigan Pharmacy Foundation (MPF) is currently accepting nominations for the Board of Trustees. Foundation fundraising and programs are directed by the MPF Board of Trustees. This group of pharmacy leaders meets approximately three times throughout the year, including an annual planning retreat, to organize activities of the Foundation. Officers are elected by the Board of Trustees. Nominations are due Sept. 1 of each year and appointments are made in October. Click here to access a printable nomination form or submit your nomination online. If you have any questions, please contact MPF Executive Director Dianne Malburg at (517) 377-0223 or

Posted in: Member News
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