Hi Jeff Carson here, Compounding Pharmacist and Chief-of-Staff of Oakdell Pharmacy. You know, as a pharmacist it really bothers me how our medication system is set up. You see, drug manufacturers go out and find tomorrow’s new medication. They research it to make sure that it is mostly safe and that it works on a large number of patients.
Then they send out sales reps to teach healthcare practitioners how to use it. Then healthcare workers
(doctors, pharmacists, etc.) seek out patients who fit the new drug and we
prescribe it. Wouldn’t it make more sense to identify a patient and their
medical problem and then seek out not only the right medication, but customize
the medication strength and form to match the patient in need? For example,
fluoxetine is an old yet effective antidepressant. But it is difficult to give
the capsules to either a parrot or a dog. Amiodarone is a great antiarrythmic
but it is difficult to give the tablet to a 1.6lb premature baby! That’s where
a compounding pharmacist can help! If you have questions about how compounding
may help you or a loved one, go to our website at www.oakdellpharmacy.com or
call our wellness center today at 614-6200.
We’ve been making it all better since 1969!
People often ask me why they don’t make that medication in a different strength or different form that would make it easier for them or their loved one to take. The answer is not one that you probably want to even know! In a publication put out by our own FDA (The Food and Drug Administration), they have identified that the current drug development model is not working. They went on to explain the reasons. You see, drug manufacturing is big business. Very few drugs actually make it to market (where patients actually use them) and the cost of bringing a drug to market averages around $880 million dollars. In order to pay for the research and development, drug manufacturers seek out venture capitalists (investors, people who by stock, etc.) to help fund the process in hopes that they will share in some of the profits once the drug “makes it big”. Here is one of the fundamental problems. Drug manufacturers need to have an extensive “portfolio” to attract venture capitalists/investors. Now think about this. If you were a drug manufacturer and you knew that it was goin to COST $880 million dollars to develop the next big drug, which would you rather develop, the cure for a rare type of pediatric cancer that kills only 1,000 kids per year or the next big erectile dysfunction medication that every man in the world could use over the age of 40? Tough question huh! It is simple mathmatics! The average life of a patent is only 7 years once a drug is released. In the case of the rare pediatric cancer I just mentioned, that would mean you have 7 years to recoup your investment along with your profits before the generic is released and you become obsolete. That means you will serve only about 7,000 patients (1,000 kids per year for 7 years). If you divide the $880 million dollar cost by 7,000 you get $125,714.29 per patient not including the profit you intend to make. Do the same exercise for the erectile dysfunction drug and you get a much smaller number. Which one is going to be more financially successful? Just to give you a little insight into the pharmaceutical industry, the greatest shortage of drugs today are chemotherapeutic medications or anti-cancer! Their is more focused attention on larger target populations of patients in order to maximize portfolios and perpetuate the system! It is completely disgusting! So, once they discover a drug that has a significant enough target population of potential patients, they have to decide what the most common strength and form should be. You see, they can’t manuacturer every strength and dosage form. It is not cost effective. That’s why some medications are either too strong or too weak for certain patients. That’s why some come in liqud and others don’t. In an ideal world, we would identify what the poblem is with a patient. Then we would identify the best drug to treat that specific patient. And finally, we would create a medication specifically for that patient whether it be liquid, tablet, capsule, lollipop, chocolate pieces, nasal sprays, etc. Sounds like science fiction doesn’t it! Well, I do this every day! As a compounding pharmacist, I can make almost anything for almost any type of patient! I’ve made eye drops from pool cleaning chemicals, antibiotics for parrots in crunchy peanut butter treats, anesthetic lollipops for kids after tonsilectomy, large animal suppositories using a dasani water bottle as the mold, transdermal pain gels for athletes decreasing the likelyhood of stomach upset and kidney failure. The stories and examples are too numerous. If you have questions or if you think that you might need the services of a compounding pharmacist, or you simply want to learn more, ask to speak to one of our specially trained compounding pharmacists. You’ll be glad you did! Let me know what you think!