Police officers in a Texas community are no longer struggling to find hand sanitizer, thanks to a compounding pharmacist.

Steven C. Hoffart, PharmD, owner and operator of Magnolia Pharmacy in Magnolia, Texas, said his pharmacy had run out of prepared hand sanitizer when he saw a need for many people in his area. Motivated by the FDA’s recent announcement that regulations were being relaxed for pharmacy compounders who wanted to make their own hand sanitizer, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hoffart sprang into action.

“They were the ones with the biggest need, so we wanted to help them out,” said Hoffart, in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “We had multiple police officers coming through our drive-through [window] for hand sanitizer, and we had run out.”

Using ingredients in his pharmacy and others that had to be ordered, Hoffart delivered 24 100 ml bottles of potent antiseptic 80% topical solution to his local police station by Wednesday. He has vowed to compound more hand sanitizer for first responders as soon as the appropriate ingredients are available.

“We’re trying to stay on top of it,” he said. 

A number of his customers had questions about hand sanitizer and Hoffart said that compounders are helping to fill a need. In addition to distributing his own compounded hand sanitizer, he showed customers how to make their own with a video posted to social media. In the video, Hoffart is assisted by a pharmacy student from the University of Texas at Austin to explain the ingredients and the amounts of each that should be used in the hand sanitizer recipe.

Hoffart is a member of the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), and has been serving the Magnolia community as a pharmacist since 2002. According to the PCCA, he has assisted in disaster relief operations in the past, including the response to Hurricane Harvey.

PCCA President Jim Smith saluted Hoffart and other members who are rising to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an example of pharmacists taking their skills preparing personalized medications for patients and pivoting them to contribute to solving a health care need for many,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful that compounding pharmacies, and our industry as a whole can be a part of the solution during this public health crisis.”

In addition to compounding hand sanitizer, Hoffart said Magnolia Pharmacy has been preparing for COVID-19 for weeks and is taking many precautions with customer and staff safety. For example, employees are undergoing temperature screenings upon arrival to the pharmacy, and answering questions regarding possible COVID-19 symptoms. Those who illicit concerns are being told to stay home.

By Wednesday, Magnolia Pharmacy was operating with curbside and drive-through service only, and encouraging customers to pay with credit cards on file to avoid staff touching cash or credit cards.

“We’re doing all we can,” Hoffart said. “We’re going to get through this, but we’re all going to have to do our part.”

Photos courtesy of PCCA: (Top) Steve Hoffart, PharmD, presents hand sanitizer to Constable Chris Jones of Montgomery County,'s Precinct 5. (Bottom) Hoffart and Kyle Montgomery, Chief of Police, Magnolia Police Department with a bag of hand sanitizer.



For up-to-date information on COVID-19 for pharmacy professionals, visit Pharmacy Times' coronavirus resource center.


REFERENCE

Compounding pharmacies get FDA go-ahead to produce hand sanitizers [news release]. Houston, TX; March 18, 2020: Professional Compounding Centers of America. [email] Accessed March 18, 2020.