Compounding pharmacy is a practice in pharmacy that specializes in creating drugs by mixing various ingredients. It has been the dominant way of creating medicines for hundreds of years and was only replaced by mass-produced drugs 50 years ago when 60% of all medications were produced by compounding pharmacists.
Today, barely 1% of all drugs prescribed to patients are compounded. However, the number of compounding pharmacies has been undergoing resurgence recently. In 2014, compounds increased 128% with some compounds costing over $1,000.
Although compounding pharmacy is yet to find its proper place again in the modern science of pharmacy, it still plays a central role in drug testing and development. Compounding pharmacists are currently the developers and testers of new pharmaceutical formulations to ensure the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of drugs to patients. They are typical commissioned by pharmaceutical companies to innovate drugs or by physicians who need to have commercially available drugs recreated.
On top of these, compounding pharmacies are the only sources of unique drug preparations that are needed by patients with special pharmaceutical needs. When a patient’s treatment depends on a change of dosage, requires different drug formulation and alternative mode of administration, needs a drug that was continued years ago, the only ones who can truly provide special formulations are the compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies are also called on to provide medications for patients who have sensitivities to available drugs and for those who need alternative flavors.
The next time you talk compounds with your PBM, ask these questions:
- How do they handle your compounds today?
- Do they require a Prior Authorization?
- Is there a dollar amount maximum?