Whether presented as a pill or as chewy gummy bears, compounding pharmacist Ndidiamaka Okpareke would like to help her Rio Rancho patients take their medication with ease.
Olive Tree Compounding Pharmacy, located in the Unser Gateway at 1920 Westside Boulevard Suite B, opened their doors for the first time earlier this month. Okpareke, owner and pharmacist at Olive Tree, said the location was the city’s only compounding pharmacy.
A compounding pharmacy creates pharmaceutical products that are uniquely prepared and created for each patient, Okpareke said. Unlike pharmacies at stores like Walgreens or CVS, Okpareke said each pharmaceutical order is made specifically with their patient in-mind.
“We take active pharmaceutical ingredients and we come up with formulations that are specialized and tailored to the patient,” she said. “For instance, a physician may encounter a patient that has a foot ulcer or some kind of wound and conventional medicine…just is not able to help that wound to heal. At a compound pharmacist, you can take FDA approved medication and you can formulate something that is tailored to that patient that can possibly help with better penetration into the skin.”
Olive Tree accepts and creates medicine for adult and children patients, as well as dogs, cats, birds and horses. The compounding pharmacy also offers hormone replacement therapy products for men and women, including creams, tablets and flavored drops.
Foams, powders and spray medications are often crafted for animal patients with painful diagnosis, she said, to help pet owners more easily apply medicine. For kids, Okpareke said she can create medicinal gummy bears and lollipops in a variety of flavors.
“For pediatric patients, I’m a mother of three so I know it’s hard sometimes to get the medicine down but we can formulate medications into dosage forms that make it fun for kids to take their medication, to take the full dose,” she said.
Okpareke graduated from the University of New Mexico Pharmacy College in 2008 and worked at hospital and retail pharmacies before deciding to open her own location. Belen’s Share ‘N Care Pharmacy, a store Okpareke once worked at, often employs and works with recent UNM grads.
“Most of those students are very good students, you know, they’re very well trained,” said Wilfred Chavez, owner and pharmacist of Share ‘N Care. “Even though they know the bookwork, they get to see the practical side of it, when they actually get out in action and do it on their own.”
With nearly 10 years of experience as a pharmacist, Okpareke said she’s excited to establish herself as a business owner in Rio Rancho’s medical community.
“It’s not like opening a retail pharmacy and then you’re competing with the monopoly, you’re competing with Walgreens and CVS,” she said. “I found a niche and I found a community where the niche fits perfectly and so I just got to a point in my life where I really didn’t have a choice but to do this. It’s kind of like when you’re called to do something.”