Vials, beakers and bubbling flasks are lined up along a countertop where staff of the Hope Compounding Pharmacy create medications that are tailored to specific patients and their differing needs. Not only does this small business provide a service that many community members need, but it is also giving hope to those who are looking for more than a bottle of pills.
Experienced pharmacist, Maria Alvarez-Hernandez, R.Ph; Pharm.D, was interested in compounding from the beginning of her career. After graduating from the University of Houston, the pharmacist went to work for a compounding pharmacy in the Houston area.
She worked with this team for 10 years before she felt like God was calling her to open her own pharmacy.
“I opened up a compounding pharmacy in Katy because I love the community and how supportive it is to small businesses,” she said.
While “compounding” has become increasingly popular, the pharmacist said some people still aren’t sure of what it is.
“I like to think of compounding as an art within the pharmacy industry,” she said. “We are able to make an array of personalized medications, including capsules, suppositories, solutions, troches (sublingual), as well as injectables all from scratch.”
She calls her pharmacy, Hope Compounding Pharmacy, because she and her team use this “from scratch” approach to meet the individual needs of those who have lost hope with one-size-fits-all medications.
“My team and I work closely with doctors and patients to individualize each patient’s prescription, meeting their specific needs,” Alvarez-Hernandez said. “We strive to uphold the highest of standards and treat all patients as family.”
When she opened her pharmacy, she knew she wanted to do more than just count pills. She wanted to truly help her patients have better lives.
“I want to listen to their individual needs and create very personalized medication,” she said. “I wanted to create a business that would really show patients a [higher] level of care.”
One way the pharmacist helps provide next level care is by creating medications for autistic children who refuse to take their medicine.
“In these situations, we can turn their medication into hard candies with their favorite flavors,” she said.
Hope Compounding Pharmacy can also provide medication for those with sensitivities to preservatives, gluten, dye and other inactive ingredients found in some commercial medications.
But the pharmacy doesn’t just treat the sniffles. It also offers treatments for andropause, bio-identical hormones, dermatology services, pain management services, pediatrics, sterile compounding, urology and gastroenterology services, veterinary services and help with weight loss.
“Just because you open a compounding pharmacy doesn’t mean you have extensive experience or knowledge,” she said. “That’s something patients should keep in mind when searching for the right place.”
The pharmacist has used her skills and experience to help her pharmacy become the best locally-owned compounding pharmacy in the Katy area.
Alvarez-Hernandez’s goal is to continue to grow Hope Compounding Pharmacy and hold the same values and standards.
“I hope to always be in a position where I can best help my patients,” she said. “As I love telling my patients, every prescription is made with a pinch of love.”
But it’s not just the patients who have been blessed by the pharmacy. Alvarez-Hernandez said she has felt God’s blessings every step of the way.
“Every morning when I first walk [into the pharmacy], I see a picture that a dear neighbor of mine drew for me. I read what it says out loud, ‘God bless this pharmacy,’” she said.
The pharmacist wants to continue to seek God’s guidance and help the community not only as a medical professional, but also as a friend.
“I take pride when I hear my patients tell me how I am always there to listen to them and understand their needs.”