What is a Compounding Pharmacy? And why should you care?

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June 29, 2017

In the spring of 2016 we installed a compounding lab here at Pharmasave Summerland. 

Compounding Pharmacy Pharmasave Summerland BC

What that means is that we are able to make special medications that are not available from regular drug manufacturers. 


We have the equipment, quality products and trained staff to create unique prescription medications customized to your needs.  That is why these special, compounded medications can also be called customized medications. 


There are thousands of different medications and strengths of medications on the market made by regular drug manufacturers. (These are the kind of pills you can get from any pharmacy.)  


Those medications are adequate for the majority of people but it does not mean they are optimal for everyone.  

Providing options for meeting a patient's unique needs is what compounding pharmacy is all about. 


An analogy would be shoe sizes. If you went into a shoe store and they only had size 4 and size 9 but you needed size ½.   

The size 4 and the 9 are close but they're not right for you. You could try to stuff your foot into a size 4 or walk around with clown feet in a size 9, but don't you wish you could have a pair of size 6 ½'s made for you?  This is what compounding pharmacy provides to the world of medicine.  


And yes there are many drug manufacturers in Canada and most people can find a medication made by a regular drug manufacturer that works for them. But remember drug manufacturers are companies that deal in volume. They aren't going to make a drug if only a few people need it. It wouldn't be worth their time or resources.  


A car analogy this time:  It's like if you are restoring a car and you need a special part.  Perhaps you need a custom engine mount or an adapter to match your new engine to an existing transmission...you may not be able to buy these off the shelf.  The demand for them is so low that a parts manufacturer isn't going to set up their equipment for that particular low demand item.  So you may have to go to a custom fabricator or welder.   

Creating these required, but low demand items is what a compounding pharmacy can offer.  



So what about the people who are not helped by standard available doses and strengths? 


Some examples of where compounding pharmacy really shines is for people who: 


  1. Can't swallow pills 

  1. Patients who need more options for topical pain relief to apply right on the painful area 

  1. Male and female patients who want bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (we will discuss this in further detail in a different article) 

  1. And people who want a medication that is no longer available from a regular drug manufacturer. Drug manufacturing is a big business and if the medication no longer makes a drug company money then they will stop making it for financial reasons. Some examples of drugs that have been discontinued for financial reasons and not safety reasons include meclizine, and phenazopyridine.   


If you have needs that are not being met by the regularly available medications, such as the categories listed above, please contact one of our pharmacists today. 


We are proud to be Summerland's compounding pharmacy.  So if you need a compounding pharmacy in Summerland, Penticton, Peachland or surrounding areas and have some special medication needs then please give us a call.  250-494-7088


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