These past few weeks have brought sadness to our communities as the tragic news unfolds from NECC in Massachusetts. My heart goes out to the families touched by this nightmare.
I am humbled by the responses to this horrible news. While we have received a few requests for information about compounding and its regulation, we’ve received far more support from our patients and prescribers. We have worked hard to build a reputation for quality compounds and excellent customer service. We must be doing something right because people seem to intuitively know that we are NOT like NECC.
There is no sense pointing fingers, it doesn’t change things for the families involved, but I do want to speak to what compounding is and is not.
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients. We work with the prescriber and the patient to create a formulation using pure ingredients in the exact strength and dosage form required for each individual’s unique needs.
Compounding is not about mass producing thousands of dosages to ship across the country to patients and prescribers you would never know or have a relationship with. It’s about meeting a patient’s need or solving a problem that cannot be addressed using commercially available medications.
Some media posts have asked whether compounding is truly necessary. I believe there is a place and a need for custom compounded medications. Often times, compounded medications are started when a patient is in the hospital. The patient must have a source for the same medically necessary medication once they leave the hospital. We have several patients who would be in very bad shape right now if it weren’t for the medications we prepare. Babies born with heart defects would have no medication to take, children with vitamin absorption problems would not be able to have the supplements they need to grow and thrive. Our Hospice patients would lack options to control their pain and anxiety in their last days. I could go on and on, but you get my point.
I’d also like to talk about quality for just a bit. In 2009, we voluntarily opened our doors for inspection to obtain accreditation by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB). It was the best thing we ever did. It opened our eyes to the importance of documenting our procedures and obtaining additional outside testing of our preparations. This ensures that our products are what they say they are, and that they are made the same way each time.
There have been times when we can’t get the product out as soon as the patient or prescriber would prefer because we are waiting for test results. This sometimes causes a tough business decision, but our integrity is always there to remind us of the potential consequences. We will not release sterile medications until the test results come back.
We have more information on our website that speaks to our Quality Assurance and our standards for compounding. Our state board of pharmacy is on top of the current practice standards for compounding and during our yearly inspections they review our procedures to make certain we are following USP 795 and 797 compounding procedures.
We are not perfect, no human being is, but our PCAB accreditation guarantees that we operate by strict standards and shows that we employ third party testing to ensure the quality of the products we prepare. Our state Board inspections serve as the final check to prove our standards are effective.
If you have concerns, please call us. We want everyone to be comfortable with their medications.