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Our Compound Pharmacy

The Regulatory Landscape of Compounding

Compounding pharmacy is a confusing topic, especially if you’ve never used one.  Many first-time patients ask questions like “Why can’t I get this at my regular pharmacy?”, “Is what Acacia does even FDA approved?” or “What is the difference between you and a drug company?”. Let’s get some answers to these questions, with a little lesson in how Acacia is regulated. Be warned, this isn’t the most thrilling topic (unless you are pharmacy nerds, like us).    

Unlike traditional pharmacies that dispense commercially available medications made by pharmaceutical companies, Acacia engages in the complex process of creating customized formulations based on a prescription from your provider. These formulations are not available in their finalized dosage form as FDA approved drugs to market. This could be due to the fact that FDA approval has never been sought, or the drug is currently not available from a pharmaceutical company (the medication is on shortage). Further, compounded medications may be necessary when commercially available medications are not suitable for a patient due to allergies, sensitivities, or dosage requirements. This raises important questions about regulation, safety, and quality control. In this blog post, we’ll be focusing particularly on the distinction between 503A and 503B pharmacies.  We get these distinction from two sections of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: Section 503A and Section 503B.

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Section 503A Pharmacies (Acacia)

Section 503B Outsourcing Facilities

In summary, 503A pharmacies like Acacia, must follow FDA-USP standards that ensure the quality of the ingredients we use to make your compounds. USP standards also ensure quality and safety standards are adhered to. As mentioned, we are regulated by the State of Arizona Board of Pharmacy. Here is what our Arizona State board of Pharmacy expects from Acacia:

  1. Facility Conditions: Inspectors evaluate the physical layout and cleanliness of the compounding facility to ensure that it meets sanitation standards. They check for proper storage of ingredients, equipment maintenance, and environmental controls.
  2. Personnel Practices: Inspectors review the qualifications and training of pharmacy staff involved in compounding activities. This includes assessing whether personnel have received appropriate education and training in compounding techniques and process validation.
  3. Documentation and Record-keeping: Accurate documentation is essential for tracking the compounding process and ensuring traceability of ingredients and finished products. Inspectors review records related to compounding procedures, ingredient sourcing, quality control testing, and adverse event reporting.
  4. Quality Assurance: Inspectors assess the compounding pharmacy’s quality assurance program to ensure that compounded medications meet established standards for potency and purity.  This may involve reviewing procedures for testing finished products, conducting environmental monitoring, and implementing corrective and preventive actions in response to deviations or errors.
  5. Compliance with USP Standards: State inspectors may also assess compliance with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards for compounding, which provide guidelines for compounding practices, equipment, facilities, and quality control measures. Adherence to USP standards helps ensure the safety, quality, and consistency of all compounded medications.

In the field of pharmacy, it’s evident that adherence to guidelines is paramount for ensuring patient safety and quality of care. We hope this insight gives you a better understanding of the quality of products you are receiving from Acacia. We are dedicated to serve our patients, providers and our community while upholding the highest standards of practice.

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