Is Compounding a Cheaper Option?

Updated: Mar 17

Hello again from the Compound Lab!

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about how compounding can help you find medicines that otherwise don’t exist, whether because they’ve

been discontinued or never made in the first place. Today, though, I’d like to take a detour and talk about something else that may be important to you: price. Based on my description of compounding as customized medicine, you might assume that compounded medicines are more expensive than traditional medicine. In some cases they are, but a surprising amount of times, they aren’t. The reasons are complicated, but I’ll do my best to shine some light on why. Medicines can be paid for in two basic ways, with insurance or self-pay. Self-pay is usually more expensive, but straightforward. The pharmacy sets a price, and that’s it. Using insurance can be more complicated (formulary issues, deductibles, etc.), but it usually lowers the price you pay at the counter. Whichever way you pay, the prices for some medicines don’t necessarily line up with what it costs to make them. For example, a drug may cost $5 to make, but the manufacturer marks it up to $50 to cover other costs (research, marketing, etc.). If we can obtain the raw ingredients for $5, we can afford to charge less than the $50 because we don’t have those other expenses. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. In the coming weeks, I’ll focus on specifics of how compounding can save you money if you’re someone who does self-pay and or someone with insurance. As always, we're available in the lab Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Or you can email me anytime at We’d love to hear from you! Until next time, Brandon

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