What Is a Compounded Drug?

A compounded medication is the kind of thing you won’t find on regular pharmacy shelves. You’ll need to look for a compounding pharmacy in case you have a compounded prescription. This kind of drug is created for each patient, adjusting components according to each case. Buyers get to choose even the colour and taste of their medication. The final cost of a compounded drug will vary according to the ingredients’ cost and complexity in preparation. They aren’t the cheapest options out there, but there are ways to make them more affordable.

Compounded Pharmacy Vs. Regular Pharmacy

Pharmacies, as we know today, are pretty recent. Drug manufacturer moguls of today were still emerging laboratories by the end of World War II. Back in the day, every pharmacy would look pretty much like the compounded pharmacy of today. A doctor would prescribe you the components, and a pharmacist would assemble them for you. Drug manufacturers dominated the mass-production market. Still, compounded drugs find their space, offering customisation beyond large manufacturers’ reach.

When Is it Necessary?

If the medication you need is not available on the shelves, compounded ones will be your only choice. For instance, some patients can’t swallow whole pills. Yet, their medication isn’t available in any other form. That’s when compounded medication comes in. It might as well be the case if you need a particular dosage of a compound. Some allergies can also put you off regular pharmacies.

Australia’s case

Compounding practice, also known as “extemporaneous compounding”, has started timidly in Australia. Only creams and hormonal treatments were available to the public. Hormonal treatments followed the hype over bioidentical hormone replacements. Australian customers were demanding a product they couldn’t find in regular pharmacies. The patient-oriented nature of compounded drugs pushed them far beyond the creams and hormones. The practice was regulated in 1989, with the Therapeutic Goods Act, although with exceptions.

Is it More Expensive Than Regular Medication?

It depends on the case. Sometimes, an off-the-cuff medication is the only choice. Sometimes, there isn’t even a one-size-fits-all medication available to compare prices. A compounded medication can cost anywhere from a few bucks to hundreds of dollars. It varies according to the compounds employed. Rare compounds and complex medication may raise the prices.

Strengths and Liabilities

There are advantages and disadvantages to using a compounded medication. In this section, you’ll read about the more significant pros and cons.


Your drug can be manipulated and adjusted in the way you want. Patients with dysphagia can have liquid versions of medications, for instance. Taste and colour adjustments can help children to accept it better too. The same goes for allergies and intolerances to certain compounds often found in regular medication.


This kind of medication can be more expensive than regular ones. Insurance might be tricky about covering them as well. Often, this kind of medication must be afforded entirely by the patient. Some of those drugs are part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). But, if your prescribed drug isn’t there, the costs are up to you most of the time.


This kind of medication can be, at times, your only choice. If you can find equal medication in regular pharmacies, compare prices and benefits. Extemporaneous drugs can be expensive. Still, you can save on their price by preferring regular components to complex ones. Bulk buying can also help you save money in the long run. In any case, check your options. See if your insurance covers your prescription or if it’s under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.