Pharmacy Compounding

Compounding is generally a practice in which a licensed pharmacist, a licensed physician, or, in the case of an outsourcing facility, a person under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, combines, mixes, or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Although compounded drugs can serve an important medical need for certain patients, they also present a risk to patients. FDA’s compounding program aims to protect patients from unsafe, ineffective, and poor quality compounded drugs, while preserving access to lawfully-marketed compounded drugs for patients who have a medical need for them.

Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved. This means that FDA does not verify the safety, or effectiveness of compounded drugs. Consumers and health professionals rely on the drug approval process to ensure that drugs are safe and effective and made in accordance with Federal quality standards. Compounded drugs also lack an FDA finding of manufacturing quality before such drugs are marketed.

Generally, state boards of pharmacy will continue to have primary responsibility for the day-to-day oversight of state-licensed pharmacies that compound drugs in accordance with the conditions of section 503A of the FDCA, although FDA retains some authority over their operations. However, outsourcing facilities that register under section 503B are regulated by FDA and must comply with CGMP requirements and will be inspected by FDA according to a risk-based schedule.



Sterile preparations include small (less than 100 mL) and large (≥100 mL) volume parenterals which may contain one or more active ingredients intended for administration by injection or infusion, ophthalmic preparations, irrigation solutions, dialysis and allergenic extracts, diagnostic agents and surgicals. Sterile products should be free from viable microorganisms.


Non-sterile preparations include topical, oral, rectal, and otic preparations.

Compounding should be performed using appropriate equipment and in a controlled room environment.