It is likely that you have never heard of a compounding pharmacy before. We are so used to getting a prescription from the doctor and driving to our favorite drug store and having it filled that we have never given thought to the fact that there are some medications that our favorite drug store might not be able to fill. Most drug stores today are medicine dispensers and not a compounding pharmacy.
A compounding pharmacy is one that has a technician capable of taking the components it takes to make a medicine and measuring these components precisely, then mixing them together to create a medication that the patient can take. The technician may need to eliminate certain ingredients from a medication to prevent an allergic reaction in the patient it was prescribed for. More likely the technician is mixing precise doses of each chemical substance found in the prescription so that the medication can be administered safely to the patient.
Whenever the pharmacists has to take a pill and crush it so that they can make an elixir from it they are compounding a medication. The same is true when the pharmacists take flavors and add them to medications to make them taste better so a child will take them. If the medicine that the drug suppliers deliver to the drug store is in any way altered from the form they were delivered in then they were compounded.
A compounding pharmacy was once in every small town and city. In the early days of medicine the only way that you got something to take for your illness was for the compounds to be mixed and created for you to take. The practitioner that saw you often made the medications themselves in their backrooms. This led to the discovery of a need for a store to sell the medication that the doctor said was necessary for a patient to take.
The drug stores opened and the pharmacist then kept the most common compounds on hand so they could mix medications for the patients in the town. The doctor told them how much of the substances they wanted according to the patient, their weight, and their particular ailment. Then a lot of medications started to be mass produced and packaged so that the pharmacist only had to count out the right number of pills or measure the correct amount of liquid.
The pharmacist that is trained to do compounds does still exist, but they are not needed as frequently now. Many of the ones that have the abilities to make these custom medications now work in the research and development portions of the pharmaceutical world. They mix different strengths and combine different compounds in a search for the perfect medications to treat various conditions. They even try to create lethal doses so they know exactly how much of each compound can be given to the patient before the dose is lethal.
You can still find some drug stores that have the ability to make compounded medications, but they are usually located in larger towns and cities.