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    Compounding services can help your pharmacy stand out


    Today, nonsterile compounding makes up 25% to 30% of Flower Mound’s revenues. Dispensing is a little less than 50%, and the rest include patient services, dietary supplements, and specialty foods, such as gluten-free items.

    Cultivate prescribers

    A big reason Flower Mound remains successful is its close relationships with prescribers, Song said. Family practice and OB/GYN physicians are among his best partners, but also pediatricians, dermatologists, and surgeons.

    Educating prescribers and their staffs generates demand, Song noted. Once they know about the pharmacy’s compounding capabilities like converting suppositories and oral pain medications to topical creams to encourage patient adherence, lidocaine lollipops for mouth ulcers, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bio-HRT), healthcare professionals will consider these options for their patients. He remembered one three-year-old who weighed only 22 lb and needed special preparations of flecanide/atenolol for congenital heart defects.

    In addition to human treatments, don’t overlook the veterinary market, Song noted. For example, let veterinarians know about compounding services for cats who have difficulty swallowing pills. There’s a market for compounding medicines like methimazole for hyperthyroidism into creams for application to feline’s ears.

    Get the word out

    To educate prescribers about compounding services, Song offers prescribers with in-service lunches at their offices, and wine-and-cheese physician appreciation nights at his pharmacy, featuring tours and demonstrations. Eight doctors attended one recently, and two became regular prescribers, each sending two patients a week on average, he said.

    Tools can make ordering compounded items easier for prescribers. These include preprinted prescriptions where allowed or cheat sheets reminding prescribers how to order common custom medications. Establishing “standing order” protocols using preprinted templates for bio-HRT and other therapies helps communicate clearly and consistently with prescribers about patient concerns, assessments, treatment plans, and progress.

    Howard Larkin
    Howard Larkin is a health-care writer based in Oak Park, Ill.


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