| Pharmacist's Compounding Bench |
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients. Compounded medications are made based on a practitioner’s prescription in which individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to customize a medication to meet the patient’s specific needs
At one time, nearly all prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950s and ‘60s, compounding rapidly declined. 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. However, the “one-size-fits-all” nature of many mass-produced medications meant that some patients’ needs were not being met.
The Compounding Bench
The compounding bench here in the Museum is where the Pharmacist prepared the prescriptions received from the patient’s doctor. A prescription often contained several and sometimes many ingredients in varying proportions. The Pharmacist would accurately measure the prescribed amount of each ingredient and then combine them into a powder or a pill or a salve or a tonic or some other form for administration to the patient. The compounded medication would then be presented to the customer. The Museum’s Pharmacist’s bench displays items such as a pill machine, folding paper for the prepared powders, powder boxes, empty capsules for filling, handmade pills, and various chemicals and other items necessary for the compounding of the various prescriptions.