Tradition | Innovation | ExcellencePosted on: January 2, 2019, by : Claire
Tradition | Innovation | Excellence
Welcome back everyone and Happy 2019! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of The Dancing Druggist and will continue to follow! When I opened my compounding pharmacy in 2012, I was looking for a tag line. I wanted a slogan that would clearly and precisely convey what my business was all about. Let’s look at each word and why I chose it. But first, a little definition of what compounding actually is. In a nutshell, compounding is the art and science of creating personalized medicine for specific patient needs. Many people aren’t served by mass-produced medications, whether it be an allergy to a filler, special dose requirement (think children or animals), unique dosage form needed such as creams or suppositories, or they need a medication that’s on short supply in the marketplace. The possibilities are endless, and fascinating. Now let’s get to those 3 chosen words.
Without giving you a complete history lesson, I’ll just tell you that compounding dates back centuries and can be linked to the origins of pharmacy itself. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, approximately 60 percent of all medications were compounded. Perhaps you have seen the depictions of pharmacists in a traditional setting. A few paintings by Normal Rockwell come to mind. Maybe the pharmacist is holding a mortar and pestle, or he is in a lab surrounded by beakers and flasks. (I use “he” to be historically accurate, not politically incorrect, as there were very few, if any, female pharmacists back then). Anyway, during the 1950’s and 60’s, with the advent of manufacturing, compounding declined. The pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms. By the late 80’s/early 90’s, many pharmacists and physicians were discovering that not all patients were being served by these manufactured drugs and began compounding again. Colleges of Pharmacy throughout the years have taught their student pharmacists the basics of this skill, and although it is still not emphasized as a large part of pharmacy practice in general, there are many places in which today’s pharmacists can get the advanced knowledge and skills required to compound on a larger scale. My training, and that of my staff, was through the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA). They are TOP of the industry in the form of training, education, and support for pharmacists, and advancing this traditional form of pharmacy practice in general. You can check them out at www.pccarx.com.
One of my favorite cartoons of all time is “Dexter’s Laboratory”. It was popular when my kids were growing up and I used to love watching Dexter tell his sister, Dee Dee, that she wasn’t allowed in his LA-BOR-A-TORY (you simply must read that with his accent!). He was usually in there inventing something really cool to solve whatever problem he was having with his peers or family. Compounding pharmacists are similar to Dexter in that we are problem solvers, too! We are constantly being asked by patients and prescribers alike to think outside the box to come up with a medication or dosing solution for a patient that has failed traditional treatment options. Although some healthcare providers look towards compounding medications as first line treatments for certain conditions, oftentimes the compounding pharmacist is last on the list of options and the prescriber calls us in desperation. The patient has tried and failed many different medications before they come to us for help. We must constantly be innovative by using our knowledge, skills, and special equipment to solve these tough cases and provide relief for the patients. As a pharmacist, I find that the “art and science” of compounding is very rewarding professionally. Did you know that the inventor of Coca-Cola was a pharmacist? How’s that for innovation!
Finally, we have excellence. I have always been a “Type A” personality who doesn’t settle for mediocre. I must admit that I got this trait from my father. Back in grade school I would bring home straight A’s and he would say “Well, that’s pretty good but I think you can do better next time” …with a proud grin on his face, of course. I would strive to be the best dancer I could in class, on stage, and as a teacher/coach/choreographer. Although I never auditioned for the Broadway stage or the Radio City Rockettes (I was half an inch too short anyway), I did achieve a personal goal by being crowned “Miss Dance of the Bluegrass” in 1988. All that may sound like bragging, but I am really just trying to drive home the point that I settle for nothing less than pure excellence in my life and now in my professional and business ventures. I expect nothing less from my staff as well, and try to only hire people who share this “excellence” mindset. I knew this word had to be in the tagline because along with tradition and innovation, it couldn’t describe my pharmacy better!