If your ancestors wanted relief from a common ailment such as stiff joints or a hacking cough, they would have sought out their local apothecary.
Before the establishment of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the late 1800’s, apothecaries specialized in formulating and dispensing medicines derived from hand collected plants and minerals. They sold these medications from a fixed storefront and worked with physicians to create specific formulas for ailing patients.
Customized pharmaceutical care can still be found at Pacific Compounding Pharmacy and Consulting (PCPC), located at Suite 312 in Lincoln Center. With over 25 years in pharmacy and compounding, Marie Cottman uses art and science to create specialized formulas, treating the medical needs of her patients. It all starts with the art of a personal consultation.
“For instance, a woman may be struggling with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). First we sit down and talk about her lifestyle, current medications and symptoms,” Cottman said. “Then we administer a saliva sample. We want to identify the root cause. The results of the sample will reveal what is happening and guide us in formulating the right dosage.”
She further explained: “In dealing with HRT, most providers will prescribe the lowest dose of drug. This may work in many cases. However, suppose a woman may be better off with a lower concentration, but the drug is not available in that strength? We can make that dose just for her.”
PCPC uses bio-identical hormones, which are customized to meet her patient’s needs. These days people typically get prescriptions filled from retailers like CVS or Walgreens pharmacies. A good deal of the time this works just fine, says Cottman. However, if someone has a unique situation or specific need that is not easily remedied through this traditional route, we may be able to help him or her.
She is quick to point out that PCPC does not prescribe the drugs. Instead, her pharmacy works closely with a patient’s doctor and makes recommendations.
Cottman smiles broadly when she says, “The tool Box at Rite Aid is much smaller than ours.”
Other solutions PCPC offers is the form in which a medication is dispensed. Perhaps a patient with a disability has a hard time swallowing, or they are working with a Hospice patient that cannot keep their meds down. They may come up with an effective topical solution.
As the only independent sterile compounding pharmacy in San Joaquin County, PCPC dispenses medication in capsules, troches (think lozenges) oral liquids, sterile injections, sterile eye drops, suppositories, topical creams and ointments, transdermal gels, and more.
Cottman said it is a great resource for animal care as well. Medicine can be disguised in the form of animal treats.
Recently they were able to come up with a topical preparation for a challenging feline.
“Have you ever tried to pill a cat?” Cottman said with a laugh. “The medication was rubbed on the inside part of the cat’s ear. Very effective,”
Cottman and her staff of four pharmacists and six staff live to create workable cost effective solutions for their patients.
“I’m a stickler for integrity,” says Cottman, who taught compounding at University of The Pacific for 17 years. “Your regular pharmacist may have just what you need, but if not, we may very well be able to create an appropriate and economical solution that solves your unique problem.”
PCPC does their compounding in the labs at their Lincoln Center location. For sterile compounding items, they make those preparations in specially designed rooms with HEPA filtered air while wearing bunny suits.
Compounding prescriptions are not covered by insurance and on average run $60-$120 per month. PCPC provides mail order throughout the state of California. Besides prescription drugs, PCPC offers a full line of pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements.
Currently located in Lincoln Center, PCPC will be relocating to their new home at 1889 W March Lane by May or June.
“We are doubling our space, going from 2,600 to 5,200 square feet. We need the space to update our labs and technology requirements to meet state regulations, and because we are dedicated to delivering quality,” says Cottman. “Compounding is a true destination location. Most people will not know about us until they need us.”