Compounding expert discusses personalized medicine

bindhu batra and two colleagues

SPOKANE, Wash.—Bindhu Batra was the first speaker of the year for the Washington State University College of Pharmacy’s Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy seminar series on September 2. She gave student pharmacists in Spokane a closer look into the niche market of compounding as a potential career path. Batra spoke about the important role pharmaceutical compounding can play for patients and how the impact of compounding has been increasing as technology in medicine advances to make personalized medicine more commonplace.

“It’s important to keep in mind that compounding pharmacists are meeting a unique need,” said Batra.

Compounding is a method to create customized medications based on a specific patient need or because the medication is no longer commercially available. According to Batra, this presents opportunities in many areas of medicine.

“We are improving the therapeutic outcomes by solving a problem,” said Batra, “some of these problems include dosage form issues, allergies or side effects.”

Batra’s specific areas of interest include pediatrics and veterinary compounding. Both of these areas present unique and interesting scenarios because, “one size does not fit all,” said Batra. These scenarios require thinking outside the box to ensure the patient receives the medicine he or she needs.

An example of compounded medications meeting a patient need can be seen in veterinary medicine when preparing transdermal gels that are applied to cats’ ears because they often will not take their medication orally.

An important aspect of compounding is the triad relationship between the patient, physician and pharmacist, said Batra.

“This relationship gives you the ability to work with physicians to solve the problem, as well as work closely with patients to make sure you are meeting their needs,” said Batra.

WSU coordinates the annual seminar series to expose future pharmacists to a variety of career opportunities in the profession and the organizational leaders within those fields.

Batra is the director of academic affairs at Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA). She coordinates programs and teaches students around the nation about pharmaceutical compounding. Before this position, she was a pharmacy consultant at PCCA and assisted pharmacies with compounding unique formulations.

PCCA is a resource for independent compounding pharmacies and serves more than 3,500 compounding pharmacists worldwide, said Batra. PCCA has recently launched their ‘It’s Personal’ campaign. This campaign focuses on the importance of personalized medications and shares the stories of patients helped by compounding.

The WSU pharmacy seminars are funded through the Dean’s Fund for Excellence and the college’s community partner, the Spokane Teachers Credit Union. For information on participating in the career seminar series, or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence to help expose WSU student pharmacists to thought-leaders and industry innovators, contact the College of Pharmacy advancement office at or 509-358-7651.