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Compounding is not the problem

31.10.2018

Now that there are a few commercial bio-identical medications available, the heretofore detractors of bio-identical hormones have switched their focus on renaming such bio-identical mass-produced medications from bio-identical to body identical. Could this be in the hope of capturing the estimated 40% of women who are now using bio-identical hormones worldwide?

Not satisfied with the billions of dollars collected every year from women currently still on synthetic hormonal medications, they want their cake and eat it.  So, they use every resource of their formidable economic arsenal to encourage, cajole and embolden the usual experts into attacking not so much bio-identical hormones anymore but the fact that these medications are compounded by specialist pharmacists.

These specialist compound pharmacists are a necessary part of the medical process and have for hundreds of years been responsible for preparation of particular medications. In the last 100 years or so, we have seen the growth of mass-produced pharmaceutical products. Nevertheless, compounding of specific medications and specific doses still plays a big part in the production of needed medicines.

Most major hospitals throughout the world have compounding pharmacies on the premises, specifically to ensure that medications are available as needed for patients where a commercial dose simply is not satisfactory. Millions of preparations are made throughout the world and doctors are more than happy that these medications are made from reliable high grade ingredients.

Compounding pharmacies in Australia are controlled and monitored by the Australian Pharmacy Board. A number of these compounding pharmacies are state of the art facilities with high standard equipment and machinery such as air quality control laboratories, monitoring technology and sterile environments protecting the products from cross contamination, moisture and exposure to light.

They must conform to very rigid guidelines and are expected to record and maintain accurate data at all times. Regular training, analytical testing and rigid compliance to pharmaceutical guidelines is adhered to as expected by the Pharmacy Board.  These pharmacies and pharmacists also ensure third party analytical testing of the compounded medications. All this combines to ensure a quality, high standard product producing effective and reliable medication.

Quality compounding pharmacies give patients access to discontinued medications. Highest quality pharmaceutical grade ingredients are used to ensure effective and reliable medications. All medication can only be produced based on a prescription from a registered medical practitioner. To even suggest that compounding pharmacies should be regulated by a body such as the TGA in Australia is to play into the hands of the big pharmaceutical companies who want to tighten their existing stranglehold is outrageous.  Its interesting that they concentrate mainly on the production of bio-identical hormones by compounders. Could this be because they see their already huge profits diminishing. Why are they not so loud about the compounding of other medications?

It is important not to allow such attacks to go unchallenged. It is equally important that legitimate claims are made by both sides. It is a simple fact that the evidence for the safety of bio-identical hormones is mounting and the mere fact that some are now mass produced is further testimony to the growing conviction of its previously loud and vociferous opponents both in the medical field and in the conglomerates that produced synthetic formulations that were the found to increase the risk of serious health complications.

There will always be a place for compounded medications just as there is a place for the provision of expert care and support for patients prescribed medications such as different strength bio-identical hormones tailored closely to alleviate symptoms that require specific doses to maximise symptom relief and minimise side effects.

Compounding is not the problem. Spurious attacks and prolific hyperbole aimed at discrediting hard working, dedicated practitioners and pharmacists who provide help and assistance to their patients are the real problem. Unfortunately, while there is money to be made, these attacks will continue.