Compound pharmacies customize medications prescribed by licensed physicians. Oftentimes, patients need these tailored medications because of allergies, dosage strengths or even when a patient needs a flavoring agent to make taking medicine easier.
In the case of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, a doctor prescribes treatment based on the patient's individual test results, which then requires a customized dosage that only a compounding pharmacist can create.
Pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals who have studied chemical compatibilities and can prepare these medications. In fact, every state requires that pharmacy schools teach the compounding of pharmaceutical ingredients as part of their core teachings. They're regulated and licensed by state pharmacy boards in the same manner of that as doctors and healthcare providers.
An estimated 1 percent of the approximately 4 billion prescriptions filled each year in the United States are compounded. Compounding pharmacies may or may not cost you more. Check your insurance if you're not sure.