Sterile compounding is the preparation of custom medications for patients in a sterile environment to prevent contamination and keep patients safe.

Known as compounding pharmacies, they must have a special license for that designation. A compounding pharmacy may use pharmacists or technicians to prepare medications. In both cases, they work in a sterile environment. Protective gear is available to prevent contamination and it is common to work under a vented hood.

A compounding pharmacy must follow very specific guidelines to keep the environment clean and safe. There are be a number of reasons a patient might need a compound medication, such as concerns about patient allergies, eye medicines and custom chemotherapy medications. Pharmacists who perform sterile compounding need a detailed knowledge of the medication so they can select the most appropriate components. They also need to consider the patient's needs.

Mark Taylor, owner and pharmacist of Curexa Specialty and Compounding Pharmacy in Egg Harbor Township shows Robin Stoloff his sterile compounding procedure.