Compounding pharmacies have highly complex mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) requirements compared to standard pharmacies. This presents unique design challenges for architects and healthcare facility owners. By understanding a few key considerations and collaborating with experienced MEP engineers, you can successfully tackle your compounding pharmacy project.

New Quality and Safety Protocols

One major design implication is the recent revision of USP Chapters 795 and 797 as well as the enforceability of USP Chapter 800 standards specifically for handling of hazardous drugs. This standard mandates strict contamination control through pressurization zones and temperature and humidity settings for staff safety and drug handling. Key factors during design and construction include HVAC equipment selection, floor plan layout, and enclosure construction to prevent infiltration.

Another key requirement is building redundancy into systems that impact drug storage and ongoing operations. Redundancies in critical equipment like HVAC units are essential to allow uninterrupted delivery for patient needs. Critical power from the Essential Electrical System (EES) is required to ensure the safe storage of hazardous drugs during power failures.  Architectural spaces also need flexibility to avoid frequent renovation when protocols evolve.  Existing spaces renovated into compounding pharmacies may present especially difficult challenges for the design team.

Leveraging MEP Engineering Expertise

MEP engineers are indispensable partners for navigating the technical demands of compounding pharmacies. The MEP firm should combine expertise in pharmaceutical standards and an understanding of the architectural and construction challenges of these spaces.

Collaborating early in design development allows the MEP team to strategize layouts, zoning, redundancies, and construction sequencing in ways that balance contamination control, system redundancies, and capital costs. This ensures that the space exceeds the stringent requirements of these critical spaces.

While compounding pharmacies present challenges, an experienced MEP engineer can provide this expertise, so that architects and owners can feel confident they have the right solutions in place from day one.

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