Co-existing with drug manufacturers, compound pharmacies that make drugs for one patient at a time are now flourishing.
Pharmacist: Drug Maker or Dispenser?Subscribing to the philosophy that one size does not fit all, compounding pharmacies cater to individuals who need customized medications in various dosage formats. Compounding allows doctors to prescribe medication specific to their patient’s individual needs instead of only having access to standardized, commercially available dosages, strengths and forms, including capsules, creams, gels, tablets, lozenges and suppositories. At one time, making compounds was a fundamental part of a pharmacist’s daily duties. Even into the 1930s and 1940s, more than half of U.S. prescriptions were compounded by pharmacists. Compounding rapidly declined with the advent of mass drug manufacturing, and the pharmacist’s role as preparer morphed into one as dispenser.
Compounding Pharmacy ErrorsMany people first heard of compounding pharmacies in 2012 when an outbreak of fungal meningitis was traced to fungal contamination in three lots of steroid injections made and marketed by the New England Compounding Center. The tainted injections affected 20 states, sickened over 700 patients and killed 64 people. This was not an isolated incident. The Pew Charitable Trusts has identified over 25 pharmacy compounding errors associated with 1,049 adverse events, including 89 deaths, since 2001.
Contamination of sterile products, miscalculations and mistakes in filling prescriptions are commonly made errors.