November 30, 2023

Telling your story, one reporter at a time

The photo inset below on the left was taken last Friday morning at Preston’s Pharmacy (a PFM, I might add) in Arlington, Virginia. It’s not a pharmacist or technician in the photo. It’s a healthcare reporter for a national media organization whose beat includes pharmacy compounding.

She and I connected initially during Compounders on Capitol Hill back in September when she reached out with questions about shortage drug compounding and HR 167. When I asked her if she’d never even been in a compounding pharmacy, she admitted she had not, but would like to see one.

Because she is DC-based, I reached out to Scott Welch, the PIC at Preston’s, about his interest in conducting a tour of his pharmacy for a reporter — a tour that would include allowing the reporter to garb-up and scrub-up just like compounders do. Scott said yes, of course, and that’s how that reporter and I found ourselves at Preston’s last Friday. 

Because the conversation was “on background” and informational — nothing we said could be quoted or attributed — it was wide-ranging. We talked about the difference between traditional dispensing and compounding, about sourcing FDA-approved drugs versus API for compounding, about vendor validation and testing and USP standards. We covered non-sterile versus sterile compounding, and hazardous drug compounding and the NIOSH list. We discussed how FDA talks about compounding and the need for reporters to dig a little more, rather than taking those statements at face value. And of course she had questions about semaglutide and ketamine and other therapies that are making headlines lately. 

She seemed to come away impressed with the sophistication and high compliance rigor of pharmacy compounding. That’s largely a credit to her tour guide, Scott Welch (pictured with me in the lower photo), who was well-informed, easy-going, and non-defensive in his explanations. He did a tremendous job guiding the tour and fielding questions. I suspect the 60 minutes that reporter spent in his pharmacy will shape the way she reports on compounding from here on — which is the point, of course. 

This model — bringing healthcare reporters into compounding pharmacies (particularly sterile compounding pharmacies) to allow them to see what compounders actually do — has legs. We’ve now scheduled pharmacy tours in coming weeks with healthcare reporters from four major national news organizations. Three will be touring Preston’s in Arlington; one will tour Joe Navarra’s Total Town Compounding on Long Island. I’m happy I’ll get to tag along and provide color commentary for those. 

It’s yet another way APC is helping take back your story. One reporter at a time, we’re sharing what you do in your labs and how it benefits patients.