According to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), there are over 50,000 community-based compounding pharmacies in the U.S. This is compelling evidence that prescription compounding is a fast-growing industry.
If you have a prescription for a compound medication, it’s important to get in touch with the right pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies are different from ordinary ones in that they actually make customized medicines. If you have a specific condition or special medication needs that can’t be addressed by available commercial drugs, your doctor may prescribe a customized compounded drug.
For example, a compounded medication may be necessary if you’re allergic to certain ingredients in off-the-shelf drugs such as dyes, gluten, soy and dairy. It may also be essential when a treatment has to be tailored to a patient’s unique needs. A good example is when dealing with an infant, and only adult medications are commercially available.
So, how do you find a compounding pharmacy in Houston? Many pharmacies are a jack-of-all trades retailer that attempt to do everything from compounding medications, to standard retail pharmacy, to providing durable medical equipment, to nursing home providers and then focus on trying to be a gift store with toys and cards, etc. To ensure you get high-quality compounded medications, choose a compounding-only pharmacy with experience that has validated potency results. Then use the following tips to settle on a reliable provider:
Ask Your Doctor for a Referral
The best place to start your quest to find a compounding pharmacy is your doctor’s office. If your doctor prescribes a compounded medication for you, the chances are high that they know a reliable compounding pharmacy. Ask them to refer you to a pharmacy that they trust and have a strong rapport with and has an online platform for easy refilling.
Your doctor may give you several pharmacy choices. Compare and contrast each of them to determine which is more appealing to you. Visit their website and observe if they have a potency testing program with posted potency results. See if they are accredited by meaningful organizations. How long have they been in business? Do they have strong reviews? Do they offer free shipping?
Do an Online Search
It’s easy to find a compounding pharmacy online. Just open a browser and search through terms such as “compounding pharmacies in Houston” or “compounding pharmacies in Texas” to view websites for potential compounding pharmacies. In most cases, these listings are organized by state and local towns. For many consumers, there may not be a convenient compounding pharmacy nearby, or their hours of operation may not be conducive due to work schedule conflicts. Many compounding pharmacies offer shipping. Find one that offers a no-hassle free shipping program. Remember to pay particular attention to online ratings by Google and Yelp; narrowing in on pharmacies that sport a five-star rating.
Do Thorough Research to Find a Compounding Pharmacy
Once you have obtained several compounding pharmacy prospects, do some due diligence. Perform a thorough background check. This will help you learn more about the pharmacies’ quality of service as well as its reviews. Here are important things to check:
Start by finding out how long the pharmacy has been in business. Experience doesn’t always mean that you’ll get quality products or services. But, in most cases, it guarantees that a service provider knows their way around the industry. On average, nine out of ten businesses close within five years. Very, very few businesses are still open after ten years. Focus on compounding pharmacies that have been in business for over ten years.
Find out whether the pharmacy specializes in producing compounded medicines or just does it on the sidelines. If you can anything including the kitchen sink, then you probably should pass. It’s better find a business that does one thing really well, versus a business that does everything mediocre. Make sure that they have specific experience with the type of medication you want. It’s always best to deal with a healthcare professional with the highest expertise in a particular area.
· Accreditation and Affiliations
A reliable compounding pharmacy will often additional non-mandatory accreditations like the PCAB (Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board). PCAB has strict standards that a compounding pharmacy has to adhere to for certification. The process is extremely rigorous in which the pharmacy is thoroughly vetted for efficacy, safety, process validation and standard operation procedures. It offers the most comprehensive compliance solution in the industry, with standards based on U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) guidelines.
When you choose a compounding pharmacy that’s PCAB accredited, you’ll be sure that you’ll get your medications from a reliable source. Less than 500 compounding pharmacies in the US and only 57 in Texas have this coveted accreditation. That means that less than 1% of all compounding pharmacies are PCAB-Accredited.
Additionally, does the compounding pharmacy have any professional affiliations? Are they a member of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) or the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA)?
· Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Training
A compounding pharmacy is only as good as the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in the facility. If they’re not well trained, chances are they won’t deliver quality compounded medications. Find out if the staff has compounding techniques training from a recognized institution, preferably training that is recognized and comes with ACPE continuing education credits. How many years experience does the staff have? Is this compounding pharmacy a teaching institution? If so, as a pharmacy preceptor, there’s a high chance that your medications are being made by pharmacy students with little training and virtually no experience who are in the process of acquiring their pharmacist license.
· Do a Site Visit to the Pharmacy
It’s advisable that you perform a random visit to the pharmacy and ask questions directly to the staff. Although many areas of the pharmacy will be off-limits due to HIPAA privacy laws, you will still be able to assess and view parts of the facility. Is it clean? Are compounding training certificates for the staff available? Does the pharmacy have updated equipment? Compounding pharmacy is a business characterized by rapidly changing technology. An accomplished compounding facility will not shy away from bragging about its accolades, equipment and experience.
Look around and see the status of the pharmacy. Where is the medicine prepared? Does the facility seem to have adequate resources and equipment? Where and how are the ingredients as well as final products stored?
A simple tour around a compounding pharmacy can help you make a decision. Make a turn if you observe dirty conditions such as stained ceiling tiles, insects in light fixtures, unkempt staff or unprofessional attire, if there is evidence of the business being a new start-up, or if the business is not focused on compounding medications.
· Check Online Reviews
A good way to find more about a company and its services is through customer reviews. Start by looking at the company’s website and social media sites to see what customers are saying about it. Are negative comments more than positive ones? Do they have a five-star rating across multiple platforms such as Google and Yelp? Are all the reviews suspiciously new, or do the reviews span a long period of time over several years? Are all the reviews suspiciously in a small date range? Are the reviews all written by individuals who have only written one review?
Proceed to check independent website reviews such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Find what previous and current customers are saying about the pharmacy’s products and services. Also, check the company’s rating and see how it compares to competitors in the region.
· Determine Convenience
Ask yourself which among the compounding pharmacies is more convenient. Can you get your refill mailed to your home or workplace? Is there a charge for delivery? Can you pay online or via a credit card? When you call do you get a live person, or are you greeted by an annoying automated menu that you have to navigate? Is the staff knowledgeable and able to assist you with ease, or do they appear to be new hires?
All these questions will help you make a better choice.
Finding a Local Compounding Pharmacy Made Easier!
It’s easy to find a compounding pharmacy convenient to you with the tips above. This will help ensure that the compounding pharmacy you select can make your drugs in optimal conditions as some medications require preparation under sterile conditions, or require special machinery for proper mixing and packaging. You can Contact us today for any compounded medication needs in the greater Houston area and anywhere in Texas for that matter.