Pharmacists Return to the Laboratory

Published Online: Monday, September 1, 2003

    Pharmacists are getting back in the business of making their own medications. For example, pharmacists and technicians at Good Life Discount Pharmacy in Ord, Neb, are making customized medicines by hand for their patients. Compounding was the norm in most pharmacies until mass manufacturing of medicine took its place in the 1950s.

    In the United States, it is estimated that compounded drugs account for 1% of all prescriptions. In 2001, there were 30 million compounded prescriptions, which grossed more than $1.6 billion, said Patricia Paget of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists. There are approximately 24,000 independent pharmacists in the United States, 82% of whom offer some type of compounding service, according to Paget.

    ?Advancements in technology and the equipment used [have] helped pharmacists improve the precision in preparing compounded medications,? said Susan Winckler, RPh, JD, of the American Pharmaceutical Association.

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