For more than a century, residents in the Mendham area have come to trust the Robinson Drug and Compunding Center on Main Street as their go-to place in sickness and in health. But new owner and compounding pharmacist John Kim has brought with him a wave of new initiatives that are going to bring the cutting edge to the more than century-old drug store.
Kim, a native of Bayone, received his Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University and had worked in Chatham and Westfield before deciding to purchase the 143-year-old Robinson. A pharmacist since 2006, Kim said when he met with owner Ken Hodge everything “just clicked.”
“I come from an independent pharmacy setting,” Kim said. “This is a town with a great history and great people, and we believe in personal care taking care of customers.”
According to Kim the lack of personalization and the pushing of pills at other drug stores is why he decided to stay independent. That independence allows Kim more leeway with another one of his specialties, compounding.
“Essentially, compounding is customized medications for the patient’s needs,” Kim said. “The art of pharmacy that was kind of lost because of manufacturing, and this brings some of that back.”
According to Kim, compounding is fundamental to the profession of pharmacy and was a standard means of providing prescription medications before drugs began to be produced in mass quantities by pharmaceutical manufacturers. The demand for professional compounding has increased as health-care professionals and patients realize that the limited number of strengths and dosage forms that are commercially available do not meet the needs of many patients, Kim said.
“Certain populations may need medication in a customized way,” Kim said. They may have allergies to certain fillers in pills. We can create suspensions and creams or transdermal gels. These types of things are potentially good for kids or geriatric patients or hospice patients that may have trouble swallowing.”
Kim said compounding professionals can formulate suitable medications in forms that are not commercially available such as sublingual drops, oral and nasal sprays, lollipops, rectal solutions and suppositories, and other customized dosage forms.
Kim said his background includes expertise in the fields of: natural hormone replacement therapy, pain management, sports medicine, thyroid disorder, autism, autoimmune diseases and custom nutrition.
“If customers have questions about nutrition, bring your vitamins in and we can figure out the optimal way to. I hear a lot of stories about people listening to doctors they see on television and they start taking supplements,” Kim said. “A lot of people think all natural so its safe, but they don’t know if what they are taking might be interacting with other medicines they are taking.”
Kim also said some of the other services being offered at Robinson have to do with anti-aging.
“Overall wellness, nutrition and age management,” Kim said. “We plan more of a holistic approach.”