ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As many as 85.5% of independent community pharmacies offer patients traditional compounding services, and while it accounts for a small portion of their business, the health-enhancing effect for patients can be dramatic, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the National Community Pharmacists Association.
Of those pharmacists who compound medications, nearly two-thirds reported the medications made up less than 5% of their pharmacy practice. Nearly 3-out-of-4 compounding pharmacists only provide nonsterile medications. Despite the fact that traditional compounding only represents a fraction of their business, 70% of pharmacists report participating in ongoing training/educational courses related to compounding techniques. This training is in addition to any continuing education that may be required to sustain one’s license as a pharmacist, NCPA reported.
“This survey offers fresh evidence that traditional compounding services are a saving grace for patients when mass-produced drugs aren’t available or are not appropriate for the patient,” stated Douglas Hoey NCPA CEO. “Pharmacists will continue to work constructively with Congress and other policymakers to not only help prevent another crisis like the [recent] meningitis outbreak, but to also preserve patients’ access to customized and safe compounded medications," he said.
“Pharmacists are appalled by the reported actions of the rogue drug manufacturer at the center of the tragic, nationwide meningitis outbreak,” Hoey said. “It purported to be a pharmacy, but its actions told another story. It’s disappointing that regulators did not act sooner to prevent patient suffering.”
Pharmacists and other experts consider the cornerstone of traditional pharmacy compounding to be the preparation of customized medications on a patient-by-patient basis in response to the request of a doctor or other prescriber. The practice is most commonly employed when manufactured drugs are not appropriate for a particular patient, such as children or those with allergies, or when mass-produced medicines are not available.