This article was supported through
an unrestricted grant from ACHC International.


Good pharmacy practice provides optimal, evidence-based care responding to the needs of people who use pharmacists’ services. This type of practice must be supported by an established national framework of quality standards and guidelines.1

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Identify the relevant guidelines and professional practice standards covering the compounding of medicines
  • Discuss best practice in complex compounding
  • Describe methods of managing risk in compounding.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 3.2, 3.4.

Accreditation code: CAP1907C

The Pharmacy Board of Australia provides definitions for simple and complex compounding.2

Simple compounding: Preparation and supply of a single ‘unit of issue’ of a therapeutic product intended for use by a specific person in response to an identified need. It routinely involves the compounding of products from formulations published in reputable references such as the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook (excluding the preparation of sterile products from these formulations, which is considered complex compounding), or using other formulations for which information confirming quality, stability, safety, efficacy and rationality is available.2

Complex compounding: Preparation and supply of a single ‘unit of issue’ of a therapeutic product that is intended for immediate use by a specific patient and that requires or involves specific competencies, equipment, processes or facilities. Examples include sterile products and preparations containing ingredients which pose an occupational health and safety hazard such as cytotoxics or hormones, monoclonal antibodies, micro-dose single unit dosage forms containing less than 25 mg of active ingredient, tablets, capsules, troches and modified release preparations.2

Test your knowledge on this article’s assessment questions here to earn up to 2 Group 2 CPD credits.