How to Find a Compounding Pharmacy
It's important to choose a compounding pharmacy located in the US and specifically who's licensed in your state. You also want to carefully select a compound pharmacy that is accredited for adhering to the highest quality standards and compounding practices. An accreditation, like PCAB, Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board provides a process to review a compounding pharmacy’s ability to meet strict regulatory requirements and standards set by accreditation organization. It demonstrates the pharmacy’s commitment to quality by meeting/or exceeding strict industry standards.
Compounding is regulated by the state board of pharmacy in the compounder's state. They're also subject to federal oversight by the FDA for the integrity and safety of the active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs. The DEA takes oversight of all controlled substances in compound medications.
For consumers, the most important qualifications to look for in a compounder are the accreditations. The practice and chemical purity standards of compounding have been set by the United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention, a private, nonprofit organization. These standards must be adhered to for a compounded to receive Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Health Care, or ACHC.
Patients may not be aware of the various compounds that physicians might order for their specific diagnosis. Specialty ointments, hormones, anti-aging creams, hospice, pediatric and sports medicine drugs are produced at compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies not only compound medicines for humans but also for veterinary purposes. Many of our four-legged and feathered friends require special medications that aren't readily available.
What are some advantages and/or reasons that your physician may order a compounded medication for you?
- Dosage compounded exactly for the patient (obese, very low body mass index or pediatric)
- Easier dosing methods, such as patches, chewable or gels
- Compounded free of problem-causing excipients like sugar, alcohol or lactose that may cause an allergic reaction
- Single dosage formulations to improve compliance/ease of medication scheduling
- Provides drugs no longer manufactured (yet are still effective)
There are about 7,500 compounding pharmacies in the United States. The selection of a compounding pharmacy is just as important as the selection of a physician. All pharmacists learn basic compounding skills, but compounding pharmacists receive additional training.
Selecting the appropriate compounding pharmacy is an important decision in your healthcare. Here are important facts to consider in choosing a compound pharmacy:
- Experienced pharmacy in the practice of compounding
- Accreditation like PCAB
- Proper facilities
- Continuing education and training for staff
- Computerized drug records to detect dangerous drug interactions
When searching online, be sure that the compounding pharmacy you choose is a safe and legitimate online pharmacy. Pharmacies with a website domain ending in .pharmacy have undergone strict review of standards and policies set forth by NABP, or National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. NABP is a private entity devoted to public health safety. They've developed a verification process to identify safe, legal, and ethical online pharmacies. Websites, such as https://www.safe.pharmacy/buying-safely, can be utilized to find a complete listing of NABP verified websites.