What is a compounding pharmacy?

Many decades ago all pharmacies operated as compounding pharmacies do today. That is, prescriptions were and are mixed up on an individual per-customer basis. It is only in the last couple of decades that the “one size fits most” premixed dosages of pharmaceuticals from drug companies are the norm. Compounding pharmacies are held to the same standards of safety and cleanliness as traditional pharmacies. Pharmacists practicing in traditional or compounding pharmacies have the same education credentials.

Some of the controversy surrounding compounding pharmacies is the same thing that makes them appealing to some people. The tailor-made dosages that compounding pharmacies can make could be seen as a new drug that has not had quality or potency tests run on it like the pre-made dosages from drug companies. Drug dosages that are pre-made by pharmaceutical companies have to be tested and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. Compounded prescriptions have thus far escaped such rigorous safety measures.
A compounding pharmacy called New England Compounding Center was making headlines for months because they produced a steroid injection that was contaminated with a fungal agent that caused fatal meningitis in dozens of people.
The benefits of drug compounding:

  • Babies, children, people who are more sensitive to pharmaceuticals, and persons of smaller stature can get dosages of prescriptions tailor-made as standard dosages available from pharmaceutical companies may be far too large and potent.
  • Persons of larger stature or who need stronger dosages of medicines can also get their dosages to fit.
  • Medicines can be made for people who can’t have a standard commercial medicine due to sensitivities or allergic reactions to inactive ingredients pharmaceuticals often contain (such as dyes, fillers, stabilizers, etc).
  • Compounding pharmacies can specialize and fill customized prescriptions written for pets.
  • In the case of young children or people who can’t swallow medications given in pill form, liquid (suspensions), palatable forms of a prescription can be made.
  • A particular commercial drug may be discontinued or temporarily unavailable and compounding pharmacies can often still fill the prescription if the active ingredient is available in generic form.
  • Compounding pharmacies can combine supplements or medications into one dose, or fewer doses instead of a patient taking handfuls of pills daily.
  • Compounding pharmacies can make a drug available in more forms than the standard commercial prescription might be available (an example would be a topical analgesic for pain to avoid gastric upset that the painkiller in pill form may cause).

If you or a loved one were harmed by botched or contaminated prescriptions from a compounding pharmacy, you may be eligible for monetary damages. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts. You may have a personal injury case. If we take your case, we work on a contingency fee basis- meaning there is no charge for representation unless a settlement or recovery of funds is made on your behalf.

To read related articles on this site, click the links: What Can Go Wrong with Compounded Drugs, Inactive Ingredients of Pharmaceuticals and Adverse Reactions They Can Cause, Bill Would Make Compounders Register with FDA, Meningitis Outbreak Toll: 23 Deaths, New England's Compounding Center's Other Drugs may be Causing Illness, FDA Warns