After 10 years as a pharmacist along with three years as an intern at Northwell Health, Dr. Isha Gupta decided it was time to do something new. In 2020, she came up with an idea to go out on her own and start HatchRx Compounding Pharmacy.
“The compounding pharmacy concept really struck me,” said Dr. Gupta, founder and pharmacist at HatchRx, which is located at 2107 Hillside Ave. in New Hyde Park. “I didn’t want it to be another Rite Aid or CVS; we have plenty of those.”
A compounding pharmacy uses FDA-approved, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to prepare individually tailored medications for each patient. In comparison, commercial pharmacies are limited to the dosage amounts and forms provided by the drug company.
“You have to go with the option that’s available for you, which is OK in most of the drugs,” Dr. Gupta said. “But then we have hormones, or we have some other drugs that have a very sensitive drug profile, and changing [the dosage] by point some milligrams would also make a difference.”
This precision in dosage ensures efficacy of the drug while minimizing potential detrimental side effects.
At HatchRx, they can adapt to suit the patient’s needs, because everything is made from scratch. For example, for older or pediatric patients who can’t swallow pills, Dr. Gupta can make a topical cream or a suppository to ensure they are still getting the medicines they need.
“We’re really a niche market for that 2% of the people who are not being able to meet their needs [commercially],” she said. “It’s very innovative. It’s very exciting.”
The pharmacy also takes care of our furry friends. Cats, in particular, benefit from the services of a compounding pharmacy. Dr. Gupta explained how hard it is to get a cat to take its medication.
“They smell it. They lick it. They feel it. They’ll eat everything around it. They’ll spit the tablet out,” Dr. Gupta said. “They’re smart, so sometimes tablets don’t work for them. Then it gets very frustrating for the pet owners because now how do they get that important, vital medication into them?”
To solve this, she can flavor the medication to make it more appealing or make a transdermal for the cat’s inner ear.
Because of delays and backlogs due to the pandemic, the pharmacy didn’t open until December 2022. The first five months have not been as busy as Dr. Gupta would like, but progress is being made.
“It’s definitely not where we want to be. We want to be a lot busier than this,” she said. “It’s very exciting. People are starting to get to know about HatchRx. We’re showing up on Google a little bit more.”
Dr. Gupta is excited to see what the future has in store for HatchRx.
“It’s all positive. I’m very, very excited for the next six months,” she said. “Now it’s picking up the pace. So, [there has been] a lot of learning for us and a lot of learning for people to know that we are here.”
One good thing about having fewer patients than a commercial pharmacy is that Dr. Gupta can spend more time with each person and interact with them.
“I get to connect with every single patient,” she said. “I get to see the results, like what are they going through and what is benefiting them.”
Unfortunately, insurance rarely covers compounds; however, Dr. Gupta does her best to help with filing a claim.
“I try to help out my patients, give them claim forms, help them out with insurance filing if they need any kind of information from me so they can put the claim out there,” she said.
HatchRx also offers a Supplement Store to complement or replace the medications people are taking. Dr. Gupta explained that supplements can be a great alternative to medicine, in some cases. Patients can buy supplements straight from the pharmacy or from vendors that she recommends.
“I’m a pharmacist, I should really be like ‘All medicine, medicine,'” Dr. Gupta said. “But I think we should look at the supplements, see if we can figure out and fix – with supplements – the [vitamins and minerals] that are deficient in your body.”
In the end, however, compounding is what most interests her.
“What excites me is compounds, because with compounds you can do so much more; it’s so innovative…you can work with a lot of different formulas,” Dr. Gupta said. “With the experience and with patient stories, we can tell that these products have shown success. So it’s always exciting for me.”
More information about HatchRx and what services they offer can be found online.