Custom Medicines

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 2:52pm

Some pharmacies are going back to customizing medications.

Before big drug companies took over pharmacist used to prepare medications for patients themselves. Now pharmacies are going back customizing medications.

A growing number of pharmacists filling prescriptions are doing more than counting manufactured pills. They're mixing and making medications, a practice known as compounding.

Pharmacist Armando Bardisa says "it's especially tailored for you. It's customized medicine for each individual."

At South Miami pharmacy's new location the second floor is dedicated to compounding. It's now 15% of its business with customers like one year old Victoria who had reflux.

Mother Christina Braaksma says "at first it was a pill that they had me give her which I had to hold in her mouth. That wasn't working out too well. Then I found out they actually make the same medication in liquid through compounding, so it was great. It was night and day."

Medications can be blended into lollipops and gummies, which are popular with picky kids.

Armando Bardisa says "a lot of the elderly use it as well because we can make your tablets that you would normally have to take we can make into a liquid."

And you can pick a flavor, for yourself or your pet. Yes they compound for animals too. The FDA does not regulate these custom meds so how do you know what you're getting.

Compounding Pharmacist Richard Mayan says "all the compounds we formulate here are sent out to a laboratory for potency, making sure what is in there and the strength that's in there, that's what's really in there."

But compounding pharmacies aren't required to do that. While insurance companies will pay for traditional prescription meds, most will not cover the cost of compounded medicines. While their ingredients are FDA approved, when mixed together they are not. So the typical cost for a month's supply is about $50.

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