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How Compounding Pharmacy is Different from Retail Pharmacy


Every person at some point needs a doctor and pharmacy to improve their health condition. Whether you’re having flu or suffering from any other serious disease, pharmacies play a significant role in getting the needed medication.  You consult a doctor who prescribes a specific medication. This prescription is then taken to the pharmacy and the pharmacist dispenses the medication. Besides filling in the prescription, the pharmacist also warns the patient of any side effects, guides about dosage, and answers any questions the patient might have. It doesn’t take long to fill prescriptions at your local pharmacy because these retail pharmacies have a stock of ready-to-consume medications that are frequently prescribed in specific dosages.

Despite the important role pharmacies play, many of us are unaware of the different kinds of pharmacies out there. Not many people know that traditional retail pharmacies aren’t the only option available. Only those who need some specialized medications are aware of compounding pharmacies. However, anyone can benefit from compounding because these specialized pharmacies provide a multitude of services to meet your pharmaceutical needs. So, let’s find out how compounding pharmacies are different than retail pharmacies.

Retail Pharmacy

General pharmacies, also known as retail pharmacies are most commonly used to get the needed medication quickly. Whether you want a pain relief medication or an over-the-counter cold relief drug, these retail pharmacies provide standardized medications to meet the general needs of patients. These traditional pharmacies simply sell the medication produced by large pharmaceutical companies. These companies use standard formulations and dosages that suit the health needs of the majority of the population. From shopping malls to local markets, retail pharmacies can be easily found on every corner of the street.

Compounding Pharmacy

Retail pharmacies are general while compounding pharmacies are specialized, and focused on creating customized medication. These specialized pharmacies are engaged in personalizing drugs for individual patients. Based on the doctor’s prescription, compounding pharmacies create specific formulas. A licensed compounding pharmacist can customize medication by alerting ingredients, adding flavors, or changing the dosage. The goal is to make medication safe and more effective for an individual patient. Unlike retail pharmacies that provide mass-produced medication, compounding pharmacies tailor medication for each patient.

Difference between Retail & Compounding Pharmacy

Both retail and compounding pharmacies aim to provide medication to patients. However, there are some key differences between both. The drugs sold by general pharmacies are created using a standard formula. But compounding pharmacies don’t provide pre-mixed formulas. A compounding pharmacist begins with evaluating your prescription and specific health needs. They use base ingredients and adjust dosages to ensure that formula best fits the individual patient’s needs. The key differences between retail and compounding pharmacies include custom dosage, different medication forms, altering/removing ingredients, and creating discontinued medication.

The standard dosage available at retail pharmacies can be too high or too low for patients with chronic health conditions. Compounding pharmacists can make the required formula in the exact dosage needed by the patient. It is also possible to remove allergy-causing ingredients like lactose or gluten.  Moreover, compounding allows for customizing medication forms. The same formula can be created in form of liquid, powder, cream, capsule, or ointment.



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