Compounding Pharmacy vs. Pharmaceutical Companies

Comments: 0 | August 1st, 2011

The compounding of medications from bulk ingredients for individual patients, as deemed appropriate by a prescribing physician, is the historic practice of pharmacy and has been occurring since the inception of the profession of pharmacy, centuries ago. Drug compounding is the process by which a pharmacist prepares a medication, prescribed by a physician, to meet an individual patient’s need. The practice of drug compounding is also known as compounding pharmacy.
The dosage or route of administration of compounded bioidentical hormones, such as natural progesterone, varies from that of commercially available drugs and is customized for each individual patient. On the other hand, drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are mass produced and distributed to wholesalers who in turn sell to pharmacies for resale to the public. These drugs have limited dosage strengths and means of administration. They are not tailored for a specific patient. There is no direct personal interaction between the pharmaceutical manufacturer and the physician, pharmacist, or patient.
Pharmacies that compound bioidentical hormones purchase these hormones in bulk from pharmaceutical companies and laboratories that are registered and governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Natural, bioidentical human hormones cannot be patented because they occur in nature. Drug companies make their profits by creating and patenting chemicals that never before existed in nature. This allows the drug companies to have a proprietary product that no one else can produce for at least seventeen years. Owning the patent rights to a drug enables the pharmaceutical company to advertise and sell that drug without competition, thus dramatically increasing profits.
In order for women to receive bioidentical hormones in the appropriate dosage, they must be prescribed for them by a physician experienced in their use. Few, if any, chain pharmacies specialize in compounding bioidentical hormones. There are many small, independent community pharmacies that dabble in compounding. However, for my patients, I always recommend that they obtain their compounded bioidentical hormones from pharmacies that specialize in compounding bioidentical hormones.

Written By: STEVEN F. HOTZE, M.D.

Steven F. Hotze, M.D., is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, Hotze Vitamins and Physicians Preference Pharmacy International, LLC.

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