When looking for pre-mixed medication, you don’t need to research the best retail pharmacies. General pharmacies selling commercially manufactured drugs are easy to find on every corner of the streets. Whether you choose a pharmacy at a hospital or shopping complex, all retail pharmacies sell the same branded medication. It means that there’s no need to research and find the best retail pharmacy. However, this isn’t the case with compounding pharmacies. Unlike retail pharmacies that only sell pre-manufactured drugs, compounding pharmacies formulate customized medication. A licensed pharmacist starts mixing ingredients after you give your prescription. It means that the skills of the pharmacist, the ingredients used, and the manufacturing process play a significant role in ensuring the safety of the medication.
Commercially available medications are FDA-approved which means that you don’t need to worry about the quality and safety of the drugs. But compound medications aren’t FDA-approved which makes it necessary to do some research. A reliable pharmacy considers multiple factors like the patient’s medical history, allergies, previous treatments, etc. before customizing medication. But not all pharmacies are the same. Some unregulated pharmacies may use low-quality base ingredients or their technicians may lack the needed skills. So, when looking for a compounding pharmacy, consider the following factors.
Compounded drugs aren’t FDA-approved but compound pharmacies are regulated by a separate body. The pharmacy you choose for customizing medication should be PCAB accredited. The Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) is a regulatory organization that sets standards and protocols for pharmacy compounding. If a pharmacy is PCAB accredited, it means that it follows regulatory requirements and meets set standards. It guarantees that the pharmacy has trained professionals and proper labs to create safe medication.
The overall quality and safety of drugs depend on multiple factors. Besides the experience of the pharmacist, the quality of ingredients used in creating formulas is also important. A reliable pharmacy sources quality ingredients from reputed sellers. They should obtain ingredients from FDA-registered wholesalers and provide a certificate of analysis for each ingredient. The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) should carry USP-grade or EP-grade which are the pharmaceutical standards required for ingredients to be used for drug manufacturing.
It’s best to visit the pharmacy and discuss all your concerns with their staff. Besides inquiring about the ingredient quality and qualification of the pharmacists, you should also ask about formula testing. Find out if they perform any additional testing on drug ingredients and final medication. Not all compounding pharmacies perform additional testing on ingredients but the best ones always stay a step forward. The best compounding pharmacy may perform testing on chemicals to verify their quality. The chemical identification testing and micronization testing on their drug ingredients. In addition to this, they use third-party laboratories for batch testing. The pharmacy should have a sterile lab for maintaining a controlled environment (temperature, humidity, and pressure). This will ensure the lowest possible level of pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, vapors, or particles.