What’s the difference between a compounding pharmacy and a drug manufacturer?

In our great-grandparent’s day, all pharmacies were compounding pharmacies. If you were sick, you’d visit your local doctor who would write you a script which you’d take to your local pharmacy. The pharmacist would make up your medication, from scratch, on site, using raw ingredients, according to the directions on the script.

The large drug manufacturers that we know today began as small concerns after the second world war. They quickly grew in size and profitability and soon came to dominate the pharmaceutical industry. Unable to financially compete with these huge multi-national corporations, the old-fashioned compounding chemist all but died out. However some still survive as they fill a niche in the market and provide a customised service that drug manufacturers are unable to.

Following are the key differences between a compounding pharmacy and the drug manufacturers:

Compounding Pharmacy Drug Manufacturer
Method of manufacture Customised medication is made from scratch by a specially-qualified chemist as directed by a doctor in a script. The medication is specifically made to suit the needs of the individual. Medication is mass-produced in a factory to a set formula approved by federal drug agencies, ie the TGA in Australia or FDA in the USA.
Ingredients used Raw ingredients are sourced from wholesalers approved (in this country) by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Each ingredient comes with a certificate of accuracy (CoA). At NCC we also randomly sample and test new ingredients to ensure the provided CoA are accurate.

A compounding chemist may not need to use preservatives in their products because the products are collected and used immediately by patients.

Raw ingredients are sourced from ingredient manufacturers approved by federal drug agencies. (ie TGA, FDA)


Preservatives may be used in mass-produced medications as they are shipped around the world and may remain in storage for long periods of time.

Manufacturing facilities NCC’s facility was built in line with the Pharmacy Board of Australia, PSA (Pharmaceutical Society of Australia) and USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) guidelines.

To avoid product cross–contamination our laboratory has three separate rooms, each with a designated function

  1. Hormones
  2. Vitamins/nutritional
  3. Dermatological and other preparations.


Medication is manufactured in factories that conform with the guidelines of the drug authority of the country in which the medicine is going to be sold, ie Medicines sold in Australia, must be produced in a TGA approved manufacturer anywhere around the world.
Location of manufacture All medications are made locally, on site, at the compounding chemist’s premises. Roughly 43% of the world’s commercial drugs are manufactured in China; 39% in India; 13% in the United States and 5% in other countries (not Australia).


Registration All compounding chemists in Australia must be registered with the Pharmacy Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and meet these agencies’ very strict guidelines.

NCC is also a certified QCPP (Quality Care Pharmacy Practice) pharmacy administrated by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.


Drug manufacturers must be registered with the relevant public health and drug administration agencies in the countries where their products are sold, ie (TGA or FDA)
Price of product As the compounding pharmacy market is competitive, price is generally responsive to competition and the usual market forces. As they have the monopoly on their products, the drug manufacturer sets its own price for each product it sells. Prices may vary from country to country.


24-Hour Promise
Over 95% of compounded
medicines shipped within 24 hours
Delivery Australia-Wide
With free delivery on
orders over $150.
Free Pharmacy Collection
From over 265 partner
pharmacies nationwide.

Why Choose Us

For Your Compounding Medicines?

  • Quality Medicines
    For 10+ Years
  • Certified & Accredited
    Supply Chain
  • Over 24,901+
    Patients Served
  • Stringent
    Quality Control

What Patients & Practitioners Are Saying

About Our Compounding Medicines

testimonial icon

"They are respectful, friendly"

“They’ve been very good to me as I have used them for 2 years as a practitioner and 2 years before that as a patient. As a patient I had no problems. They are respectful, friendly and their customer service is professional.”

testimonial icon

"The quickest and best"

“We have been with a compounding pharmacy since 2000 in South Africa and Australia. You are the 2nd in Australia and the quickest and best, Thank you We currently order & collect at Oxenford Amcal”