"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Compounding Pharmacy Debate..................

Many patients, me included, get at least some of their bioidentical hormones from compounding pharmacies. I get my progesterone cream, my estriol cream (for vaginal atrophy) and my T3 capsules compounded.  My estradiol and testosterone are purchased at my local big box store pharmacy. I inject both of those medications once weekly (for me, Sundays), and I have found that it is easier to keep my hormone levels optimal with the protocol I am on.

I know most of you are aware of the fiasco and many deaths from tainted injections made by the New England Compounding Center last fall.  Clearly the ball was dropped in regard to oversight over this pharmacy, which was not acting as a compounding pharmacy, but as a manufacturer, thus stepping way over the lines of what they were supposed to be doing.  It frightened (justifiably) many people, and I spent a couple months reassuring patients from a patient's point of view that this was an aberration, that this is NOT the way most compounding pharmacies do business. I have NEVER had a problem with any of the hormone creams I have taken, and I have used at least five different pharmacies over the course of the last  6 1/2 years.

There is much discussion in Congress right now about whether or not the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) should be given broader access to regulate compounding pharmacies, which now are under the control of state pharmaceutical boards.  I will be the first to tell you I am not a fan of the FDA, I think they are in bed with Big Pharma and have done a great deal to harm our health care system.  A couple of years ago, I read something in an article that really struck home "Remember that every drug recalled by the FDA has first been declared safe and effective by the FDA".  That's important.

Do we need to make sure that another rogue "compounding pharmacy" doesn't get greedy and decide to make oodles of money by stepping over the line to become a drug manufacturer instead of a compounding pharmacy? Sure do.  Does giving the FDA broad but ill defined power the answer?  Read this article and an opposing opinion from USA Today to help you decide.