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5 Keys to Choosing a Quality Compounding Pharmacy

A compounding pharmacy delicately blends science with art to prepare individualized medications. But not all pharmacies are created equal, meaning you should take your time in choosing the right one. It helps to know which qualities to look for to ensure your medications meet the exact dosage and strength for your needs.
5 Keys to Choosing a Quality Compounding Pharmacy

1. Look for PCAB Accreditation

The Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) is a certification body for compounding pharmacies that are based on USP Convention standards, offering the most comprehensive regulated compliance solution in the industry.  Accordingly, certification is only provided to pharmacies demonstrating:

  • Maintenance of thorough policies & operating procedures
  • Compliance with federal/state/local laws
  • Organizational leadership
  • Adherence to patients’ rights & responsibilities
  • Appropriate fiscal operations
  • Strong human resource management
  • Quality provision of care
  • Retention of patient records, quality outcomes, and performance improvement
  • Qualitative/Quantitative measure of infection control
  • Standards for patient/employee safety
  • Properly trained compounding personnel
  • Quality control procedures to prevent contamination during the compounding process
  • Investigation of errors to prevent recurrences

In choosing a PCAB-accredited pharmacy, you can rest assured your medication is in the hands of reliable, trustworthy professionals. It also means that established protocols are followed with each prescription preparation. If the pharmacy you use is not accredited, you may want to have your medications compounded elsewhere.

2. Ask About Pharmacist Training

In the past, before prescriptions became mass-produced by the manufacturers, most medications were compounded by a pharmacist. This task still remains a cornerstone in the field of pharmacy; however, it  requires a high degree of specialization. Therefore, pharmacists must be well-trained to effectively meet each patient’s unique needs. Furthermore, because pharmaceuticals continue to change and evolve, pharmacists need ongoing training in this specialized field.

Training, then, is one of the traits that separates a mediocre pharmacy from one that is great. With continued education, pharmacists can:

  • Prepare unique forms and dosages of medications
  • Create medications free of ingredients that may prompt allergens, such as dyes, lactose, and sugar
  • Prepare medications that are not readily available commercially

3. Learn Their Batch Testing Procedures

Compounding pharmacies are compelled to batch-test their medications to ensure safety and compliance. Such analysis can be done in-house or via an external batch testing agency. The goal in either case is to prevent errors in compounded medications. Knowing which process your pharmacy uses can ensure they take quality assurance seriously.

Some pharmacies even perform tests on their individual ingredients, such as chemical identification and particle size analysis. These steps prove the ingredient received by the pharmacy is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Further testing can also ensure every ingredient used meets United States Pharmacopeia (USP) pharmaceutical grade standards.

4. Question the Quality

A reputable pharmacy will source medical chemicals that reflect the most reliable potency and highest quality. This means they work with suppliers recognized for delivering pure active ingredients. In addition, the pharmacy should receive a certificate of analysis (COA) with every substance they incorporate into their compounds.

The COA provides the testing results for that chemical, including water content, strength, and more. In turn, the pharmacy must ensure this criteria meets USP standards to ensure the chemical can be safely used in compounding. Any criteria that does not meet the USP standard should lead to the chemical’s rejection. It is therefore important to know a pharmacy takes the appropriate measures to ensure all ingredients are safe for compounding use.

5. Identify the Role of Patient Safety

Speaking of safe compounds, it’s important to know your pharmacy considers patient welfare in other ways as well. This means you should ask questions like:

  • Do you use biological safety cabinets for compounding hazardous materials?
  • How many points are in your quality control process?
  • Is a biochemist on site to help monitor laboratory testing processes?

The more information you have about a pharmacy, the more trust you can place in your medications. Essentially, you want to know that only the highest quality ingredients are used and that staff are routinely given comprehensive training. We provide these qualities and more, combining attentive service with expert answers to your questions. Contact Wells Pharmacy Network today and learn how we can provide the personal medications you need.

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