Two compounding pharmacies, one in Bend and another in Redmond, are relocating and expanding.
“We’ve just outgrown our spot, which is a good thing,” said Mike Edmondson, owner of Redmond Pharmacy & Compounding Center, currently located at 1245 NW Fourth St.
Central Oregon is home to at least five compounding pharmacies — those that make small batches of customized medication in-house to meet patients’ specific needs.
Compounded medications are often used if a patient does not respond to conventional manufactured medicines, needs a specific dose, has allergies to ingredients or if manufacturers have stopped making a certain drug, said Angela Valerga, owner of Cascade Custom Pharmacy. Valerga can make thousands of different medications, ranging from antibiotics and hormones to veterinary medicines, in various forms including capsules, creams and even gummy animals and lollipops, depending on what the patient wants and needs. About 60 percent of her business is for human medication, and the other 40 percent is for animals, she said.
According to the website of the Professional Compounding Centers of America, nearly all prescriptions were compounded at one time, but that declined with the rise in drug manufacturing during the 1950s and 1960s.
“The pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms, and most pharmacists no longer were trained to compound medications,” the website states.
However, compounding has experienced a resurgence with new technology and a demand for personalized care, according to the website.
Valerga said most college pharmacy programs focus on working in clinics, hospitals or similar settings, so pharmacists interested in compounding have to pursue it through continuing education courses.
“It really is a lost art,” Valerga said, adding that she plans to host interns to pass on her knowledge.
Valerga, who was a compounding pharmacist at Ray’s Food Place in Redmond for seven years, purchased CustomCare RX pharmacy on NE Williamson Court in May and changed the name to Cascade Custom Pharmacy. Because the east side of Bend is becoming saturated with pharmacies, such as the new Walgreens, she said, she has decided to relocate to the Brookswood Meadow Plaza next month.
“The southwest side is one of the largest growing neighborhoods in Bend, and there isn’t a pharmacy to really service that area. The nearest pharmacy is 2½ miles away,” she said.
The new location will be more than double the size of the current pharmacy. She plans to focus on customized compounding medications, but also offer traditional prescriptions, as well as medication management therapy, health screenings and immunizations.
Edmondson, of Redmond Pharmacy & Compounding Center, said his new location, on the corner of NW Elm Avenue and NW Fifth Street, is 4,500 square feet, about double the size of his current pharmacy. He plans to open Aug. 11.
“We’ll probably be able to triple the size of our compounding area, which is the biggest reason why we’re moving,” he said.