Compouding Medicine and Natural Therapies: An Integrative and Customer-Based Approach to the Neighborhood PharmacyMar 31, 2016 03:45PM ● By Ethan Stoetzer
Since the nomadic days of humanity, the institution of the pharmacy has always been about maintaining community, both physically and metaphorically. It’s always been about curing people while ensuring the continuation of a culture. At the Marlton Pharmacy, curing patients of their ailments while prescribing life-altering habits, has always been the philosophy of co-owners Harry and Nittal Lodha.
Nittal Lodha grew up in India, with pressure from her parents to enter into the sciences. Not sure if she was prepared for the rigors of anatomy and surgery to become a doctor, or if she had the desire to become a dentist, Lodha chose to study pharmacy.
Since earning her license in 2003, she has gone on to work for several pharmacies, while also earning an anti-aging, regenerative and functional medicine fellowship. Six years ago, she and her husband decided to open up a neighborhood pharmacy in Woodbury, New Jersey. After four years, they decided to open a flagship location closer to home, in Marlton, New Jersey. What originally started out as the sole work of Lodha and her husband has grown to encompass approximately 30 full- and part-time employees.
Yet, both pharmacies differ from the typical drug store most are comfortable with today. The Marlton Pharmacy offers a unique experience to patients with different needs. In addition to filling normal prescriptions, the pharmacy also specializes in compounding prescriptions, in which medications are handmade by pharmacists, specially tailored to the needs of the patient. For example, if a patient is allergic to a specific medication, doctors might recommend a compounded prescription which is specially tailored to alleviate the negative side effects of a particular medicine.
Lodha says that the pharmacy compounds topical ointments, which allow medication to be absorbed through the skin. These medications are not available for over the counter or commercial use, but are designed specifically for patients with special medical conditions.
The pharmacy also specializes in hormone replacement therapy for women and men for specific medical conditions as well as health and wellness. The health and wellness program is designed by Lodha and tailored to patients that want to make improvements to their lifestyle.
The most significant health and wellness program patients participate in, says Lodha, is the weight-loss program. A special nutrition plan, exercise regiment and lifestyle evaluation plan is established for each patient, so as to have care custom-designed for each individual.
“It’s about finding out the cause of any disease or any symptoms they have,” Lodha says, “and to find out the cause and try to help them, nutritionally, to get better.”
Lodha believes that modern medicine focuses more on alleviating the symptoms, often times neglecting to address the problem creating the symptom.
“With these specialties and techniques, we’re able to find what ails patients, and we see a major improvement when all the specialties are taken advantage of,” Lodha says.
Pharmacies used to be corner stores, where people could get cough syrup or fill prescriptions; medications used to be made in front of patients’ eyes. While the pharmacy has grown to help millions, the trade off is a lack of personality.
“I know everyone here,” Lodha says. “I know the patients and we ask how they’re doing, and we know their medical history.”
For the Marlton Pharmacy, the focus is about maintaining the sense of community by curing ailments, and preserving a culture. Lodha believes that the money made is nice, but in the end, it all comes down to the patient getting better.