Archive August 2018 XIX, No. 8

Shopping for a Compounding Pharmacy

Ask these 5 key questions to find the right drug supplier.

Jeannette Sabatini, Associate Editor


SEE FOR YOURSELF Site visits provide an important look at the condition of a compounder's facility and valuable insights into the quality of its practices.

Christina Moylan, LPN, was caught off guard when she found out the compounding pharmacy she had spent 2 years building a great relationship with would no longer prepare preservative-free triamcinolone acetonide, which her retinal surgeons used to visualize the posterior cortical vitreous during pars plana vitrectomy, because there wasn't enough demand. Ms. Moylan only ordered around 10 $25 vials a month. In search of a new pharmacy, the materials manager at the Island Eye Surgicenter in Westbury, N.Y., decided to take a chance by posting on the ASC Association's community message board:

Does anyone use a compounding pharmacy (503B) to supply triamcinolone 40mg or 60mg per ml — preservative free? My current 503B is no longer providing it.

Ms. Moylan was excited when a facility manager recommended the compounding pharmacy she used. But when Ms. Moylan did some digging, she discovered some skeletons in the potential new partner's closet: The pharmacy produced 3 drugs that had been involved in nationwide recalls for sterility issues.

"Any recall of any sort is a red flag," says Ms. Moylan. "I didn't want to use that compounder."

Her experience leads to the first and most important piece of advice when searching for a new drug compounder: Do your research to make sure the pharmacy has a proven track record of safety and a clean reputation, and ask these key questions before taking the plunge.

1. Is it a 503B?

The spotlight has shone brightly on compounding pharmacies since the 2012 New England Com-pounding Center disaster. The compounding pharmacy in suburban Boston produced and distributed mold-tainted vials of an injectable steroid used to treat back and joint pain. The steroids sparked a widespread meningitis outbreak that killed 64 patients and sickened more than 750 others.

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