Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rotation 3- Community: Still Going Strong

Posted by E. Caliman at Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I'm doing my Community Rotation at a local compounding pharmacy. I enjoyed compounding during P1 year and was interested in it even before starting pharmacy school. After the fungal meningitis outbreak from the New England Compounding Center in 2012, I thought that a community compounding pharmacy would be a nice, slower-paced rotation as compared to a chain community pharmacy.

I was wrong. I was so very wrong.

Compounding pharmacies are very much alive and well, even with piles of restrictions and new regulation. It's likely due to the fact that compounding pharmacies provide patients with medications they can't find at a regular community pharmacy and the personal level of service because many of them have fewer patients.

Slow days here are few and far between. I started off on a week where almost 100 scripts were filled each day. It's always busy. If you're not filling, you're probably tackling the pile of drug information questions patients and doctors call you about, from drug stability of compounded medications, to drug interactions, to helping them navigate insurance issues, since many insurance companies no longer pay for compounded medications.

Naturally, I got to spend time in the compounding lab. The pharmacy can compound capsules, suspensions, topical creams, ointments, lotions, suppositories, as well as sterile products. I got to try a little bit of each. The experience was more automated than I expected (there's a machine that mixes the topicals and you don't fill capsules by hand), but a little more labor intensive than P1 year would have you believe. Even so, I still enjoy compounding and it's still a career option.

Some of my other projects include updating policies and forms, as well as doing research into regulation and new business opportunities. I researched how a pharmacy in the partnership could provide a new service for the county and updated a privacy practice form to reflect that the pharmacy could now text patients with their permission. Overall I had a great experience and am looking forward to the next rotation.

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