Why compounding pharmacies are a necessity

October 18, 2012

We support The Post’s call for more oversight of and enforcement against large-scale drug manufacturers masquerading as compounding pharmacies [“The cure for what ails,” editorial, Oct. 10]. That description seems to fit the Massachusetts company whose drugs are suspected of causing more than 200 meningitis cases.

By contrast, traditional compounding pharmacies help address unique, individual health needs on a case-by-case basis. They provide patient-specific medications of the highest quality. These medications can, for example, avert an allergic reaction that might occur if someone took a mass-produced drug. They also can turn a pill into a more child-friendly liquid dose at a pediatrician’s request. And when manufactured drugs are unavailable, especially in shortage situations, these pharmacies fill the void.

The nation must reach the appropriate balance as it works to try and prevent this type of suffering from happening again. By all means, shut down unregulated drug manufacturers. But preserve patients’ access to customized medications from traditional compounding pharmacists. They are a small yet vital component of our nation’s health care system.

B. Douglas Hoey, Alexandria

David G. Miller, Missouri City, Tex.

The writers are, respectively, chief executives of the National Community Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists.

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