The Case for Compounding

Suntree Pharmacy offers custom compounding, tailoring prescriptions to serve their customers’ unique medicinal needs

Experienced community compounding pharmacists are now, unfortunately, less common, however the practice of pharmaceutical compounding dates back to near the genesis of time. Simply put, pharmaceutical compounding refers to a pharmacist mixing drugs to make one-of-a-kind medications specific to the distinct needs of an individual.

“The first societies knew of the medicinal possibilities to be discovered within the biological, zoological and botanical systems, as well as inorganic minerals within the environment, and they utilized pharmaceutical compounding for religious purposes, personal upkeep, maintaining health, treating the ill and embalming. As far back as medieval times, pharmacists developed advanced methods of compounding drugs, which were then provided in drugstores beginning in 754 A.D.,” explains Mike Peterson, manager of Suntree Pharmacy on Wickham Road in Melbourne.

The modern age of pharmaceutical compounding began in the 19th century when pharmacists began determining the many uses of crude drugs that come from natural resources, usually containing multiple chemical compounds with which the pharmacists would use solvents, such as water or alcohol, to form mixtures and distillations.

“They began isolating and identifying the active ingredients in order to make specific medicines, and in so doing, compounding pharmacists like Diahn Clark (owner of Suntree Pharmacy) birthed modern medicine,” explains Peterson.

Compounded medication is ideal for all patients because it allows the physician to tailor a prescription to the individual’s needs, however it is especially useful for:

  • Customers requiring specific dosage strengths, such as limited dosing for infants.
  • Customers requiring a different formulation, such as turning a pill into a liquid or trans-dermal gel for people who find swallowing difficult.
  • Customers requiring an allergen-free medication.
  • Customers with unusual medication absorption or excretion.
  • Customers who need drugs that have been discontinued by drug makers because they were unprofitable.
  • Customers facing a supply shortage of medications they normally take.
  • Children who are more likely to be compliant if the medication tastes like candy or fruit.
  • Veterinary medicine for a change in dose, a change to a more easily administered form (such as from a pill to a liquid or trans-dermal gel) or to add a flavor more palatable to the animal.
  • Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.

“Unfortunately, the 1950s saw the rise of large pharmaceutical companies that nearly erased the usage of this vital area of medicine. But as is the case with incomparable quality services, compounded medicine remains a primary component of the suite of services offered by many independent pharmacies, like Suntree Pharmacy,” says Peterson.

Founded in 2001, Suntree Pharmacy aims to provide the local community with personal service and expertise in custom compounding. Today, the full-service pharmacy has expanded to also include sales of medical equipment through its sister company, Suntree Medical Equipment.

“Independent community pharmacists are dedicated to providing patients with expert medication counseling and sterling customer service,” says Peterson. “The costs of patients improperly taking their medication has been estimated as much as $290 billion annually. Employers, insurance companies and policymakers can help lower those costs by supporting efforts to protect patients’ choice of pharmacy and ability to consult with their local pharmacist. They can start by rejecting efforts to mandate patients’ use of mail-order pharmacies.”

In fact, 94 percent of the responders to a 2011 Consumer Reports survey rated independent pharmacies the highest based on overall satisfaction and service among all types of pharmacy providers.

“Suntree Pharmacy meets all of the above needs and also is a full retail pharmacy offering most over-the-counter medications as well,” adds Peterson. “We take pride in providing a level of quality personalized service as deeply rooted in helping others as is the practice of compounding medication. We would love the opportunity to serve you.”

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