Offering custom medications, a Newark pharmacy fills a crucial need for patients
Oct 07, 2019 02:27PM
By J. Chambless
Co-owners Calvin Freedman and his partner, Brenda Pavlic.
Despite its cutting-edge medications and equipment, what the SaveWay Compounding Pharmacy really does is reach back to the days when druggists used their expertise to create medications for each individual patient.
The Newark-based business was started in 2001 by Calvin Freedman and his partner, Brenda Pavlic. Freedman had owned and operated a pharmacy in New Castle for 30 years, but saw a need for returning to the individualized attention to prescriptions that has been pushed aside by monolithic drug companies.
SaveWay is a licensed pharmacy where all medications are customized. They don’t dispense commercially available drugs. Each prescription is prepared on-site with the basic ingredients required by a doctor's prescription. It’s one of about a dozen compounding pharmacies in the tristate area. It’s also the only compounding pharmacy in Delaware that uses sterile techniques to create medications that will either be directly injected into the patient or will be inserted into their eye.
That’s a godsend for patients who may have allergies to some element in mass-produced medications, or who need a specialized blend of ingredients that is not common enough to warrant widespread manufacture. In many cases, SaveWay saves lives, one medication at a time. SaveWay can make capsules, creams, ointments, gels, troches, suppositories, solutions, suspensions, syrups, and sublingual tablets or drops.
The business currently focuses mainly on bio-equivalent hormone therapy for men and women, as well as a host of other medicines for people -- but has a strong market in the veterinary community as well. Anyone who has tried to convince a pet to swallow medicine that it doesn’t like knows the frustration level that brings customers to SaveWay. The pharmacy staff has to find the right combination of drugs, form and flavor to get the medication where it needs to go.
“In order to accomplish this,” Freedman said, “we've gone back to basics. This is pharmacy the way it was practiced 100 years ago, and we're happy to provide this service for human and animal patients alike.”
Together with veterinarians, pharmacists can provide compounded medications to expand the amount of treatment options available for veterinary conditions. Medications can be made in oral liquid, topical, and animal treat forms. These medications can be flavored to appeal to animals, making them easier to administer.
“It's kind of like cooking from scratch,” Pavlic said. “The doctor determines the appropriate drug therapy, then we figure out the best way to get it into the patient. In the case of a medication for an animal, we've had a lot of success with flavored liquids and transdermal gels. Our most popular concoction is our ‘Treats’ That Treat. We make medicated treats which we can flavor as beef, chicken, tuna, liver, salmon or shrimp. Some of the commercial medications taste so awful that an animal, especially a cat, will not only refuse to take it, but will become alienated from its owner.”
Many regulatory bodies are aware of the practice of compounding and have set rules with which pharmacies must be compliant. The Food and Drug Administration allows products to be compounded as long as licensed practitioners have written a prescription for a specific patient to be filled at a licensed pharmacy. In addition, many state boards of pharmacy require additional regulations to be followed.
When it comes to treating people, SaveWay has a loyal client base, many of whom had run out of options elsewhere. One client wrote, “Pharmacist Eric was great at helping my doctor and I come up with a prescription strategy that is 1/5 the cost of brand name prescriptions. He took his time making sure I understood the prescription and answered all my questions.”
The value of the service is obvious to parents of autistic children, as one example. Many children with autism follow a special diet free of gluten and casein as well as free of other problem-causing ingredients.
Getting a child to take their medication can be a struggle when they have trouble swallowing capsules or taking an unpleasant-tasting liquid. These difficulties can become even more challenging for a child with autism. SaveWay can prepare flavored syrups, suspensions, lollipops, popsicles, or gummy bears that contain the medication a child needs.
If there are allergies, SaveWay can prepare medications that are free of gluten, casein, yeast, wheat, certain sugars and dyes.
SaveWay specializes in treatments for hormonal imbalances that can occur at any age and affect both men and women. The primary hormone in men is testosterone. As age increases, testosterone levels decline and can lead to a condition known as andropause, or more commonly low-T. Many women, as well, experience side effects when dealing with menopause and hormone imbalance. Unstable hormone levels can lead to chronic symptoms and disorders that can disrupt daily activity.
Freedman graduated from Temple Pharmacy School more than 40 years ago. Although he has always been a member of professional organizations, during the last few years, he has joined several groups that promote the art and science of compounding. His memberships also provide a network of compounding pharmacists.
“Brenda is a nationally certified pharmacy technician,” Freedman said. “She has worked in pharmacy for 20 years, and 18 of those have been for me at SaveWay Pharmacy. Whether our patient is human or animal, Brenda and I will draw upon years of experience and education to best serve the prescription compounding needs of the patient and the doctor. I like to say that we offer the physician, and the patient, options.”
For more information, call 302-369-5520 or visit www.savewaypharmacy.com
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.