The Compounding Controversy
Pharmacy is a booming field when it comes to medicine, but it certainly has controversial issues such as compounding drugs. While the practice of making drugs customized to a patient seems ethical, there are problems that come along with it. Drug compounding was the norm in the past, but over time consumers began to see issues with it. Drug compounding still occurs to this day because some patients do need medicine specifically tailored to their needs. Compounding has also been the focus of recent disasters, some of which occurred less than two years ago. Whatever side one may take on this issue, it is clear that compounding medicine will be a polarizing issue for years to come.
To begin, the Professional Compounding Centers of America defines compounding as “the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients” (“What is Compounding?”). Drug compounding has a long history, which has been around for hundreds of years. The University Compounding Pharmacy (UCP) claims that “50% of all prescriptions were compounded in the 1940’s” (“History Of Compounding.”). Pharmacy owners, such as the pioneer Eli Lilly, helped compounding pharmacists get into manufacturing companies to create drugs at a rapid pace. Today, the Board of Pharmacy recognizes roughly 5000 compounding pharmacists, which fill 3% of the 4 billion prescriptions yearly. The UCP has produced over 100 compounding pharmacist technicians and 25 official compounding pharmacists. This organization is one of the largest compounding facilities in the United States (“History Of Compounding.”).
To continue, compounding would be needed if a patient wants to change something about the medicine such as flavor or strength. It is vital that some drugs are compounded as certain strengths may be too overpowering for patients, such as infants or elderly people. Compounding is also important for allergy needs, as a pharmacist could remove certain ingredients in a medication that would cause allergic reactions (“What is Compounding?”). With all of this in mind, a compounding pharmacist can create drugs specifically for their patients.
In continuation, compounding is heavily regulated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and State Boards of Pharmacy oversee all compounding, with the Boards monitoring more. The FDA tends to work more with pharmaceutical companies to make sure what they are doing is legal. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has standards used every day that are “mandated by law” (“International Academy of Compounding.”). Due to the regulations, most compounding is seen in nuclear pharmacies, hospitals, and home health specialty locations. Independent pharmacists also compound, shown by a survey in which “76% were seen to compound medicines for patients” (“International Academy of Compounding.”). The independent pharmacists, unfortunately, tend to have the most problems with compounding.
In the last 3 years, there has been one major issue that...