Compounding pharmacy increasingly popular during flu season

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Compounding pharmacy has become increasingly popular across Central Florida since the uptick in flu cases.

Eyewitness News reported last week that there is a shortage of the generic version of Tamiflu and the price of brand-name of Tamiflu has skyrocketed.

Compound pharmacies, which are different from retail pharmacies, have the ability to make a little bit of medication go a long way.

“Especially if we are compounding a dose that is less than the commercial capsule strength, then we can make that one box to a lot more patients,” said Juan Lopez, with Pharmacy Specialists.

Compound pharmacies are helpful in creating lower dosages for children in need drugs. Pharmacists write the formula, and then, in ventilated enclosures, mix the formula so it's patient-specific.

“We would be opening the larger dose capsules and then mixing it with a filler to make a lower-dose capsule, or we would make it into a suspension,” said Terry Isler, with Pharmacy Specialists.

Specialty pharmacies have already helped with drug shortages.

“It is a regular prescription. The only difference is we would prepare it here, and then the physician would have to indicate that it is OK for us to compound it,” Lopez said.

Specialty compound pharmacies can price out how much it'll cost to formulate the proper dosage, whether it’s filled through insurance, or a person pays the cost upfront.