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Beloved Dallas pharmacy Dougherty’s creates life-saving prescriptions with state-of-the-art compounding lab



DALLAS, TX — Dallas’ oldest and most recognized pharmacy, Dougherty’s has opened up its newest location. With nearly a century of being in business under their belt, the pharmacy is also celebrating the opening of its state-of-the-art compounding lab at the new location.

Dougherty’s spent 50 years at the intersection of Preston Road and Royal Lane in Dallas, and has now moved up to Preston Road and I-635 to its bigger location. The Dallas staple now has a convenient drive-through, and even a retro soda fountain. You can also buy milkshakes, slices of cake and sandwiches. Something the pharmacy staff is thrilled about is the 2,000 square foot compounding lab, where they’re able to create customized sterile and non-sterile medications when commercially-made drugs don’t fit a patient’s needs.

Dr. Susan Swanson is an ophthalmologist in Dallas who has been using Dougherty’s for her patients’ prescriptions for about seven years now. Dougherty’s customized eye drops have helped her patients suffering from dry eye.

“I use drops that are exceptionally unique because they’re made from your own blood. So a patient first gets their blood drawn, and there’s a spinner that separates the red blood cells in the lower part of the tube and the clear serum is in the upper part,” Dr. Swanson said. “Dougherty’s is able to take that clear serum portion, in a sterile environment, and put it into eye drop bottles so that the patient can, in turn, put them in their eye. This is revolutionary that you take your own serum and put it in your eye and, believe it or not, it is more effective than your own tears at keeping your eye lubricated.”

Compared to other compounding pharmacies, Dr. Swanson says Dougherty’s has gone above and beyond for her, as well as for her patients.

“I have found Dougherty’s to be exceptionally helpful to me and my practice. I have been through other compounding pharmacies, at least four, and different ones will not pass their sterility rating, or they will actually have positive bacterial cultures in eye drops. So quickly, I’ve had to shift and find another compounding pharmacy. What’s been amazing about Dougherty’s is they have been perfect since the get-go. The way that they will listen to me, get me drops quickly for my patients that are suffering, and each and every time, they’re sterile. They are exactly the percentage I’ve asked for, and they are effective. And my patients are beyond grateful and beyond happy,” Dr. Swanson said.

Compounding pharmacies are vital for patients who may need different types of customized prescriptions to meet their medical needs. For one Dallas family, their daughter wouldn’t be able to live without the liquid form of medication Dougherty’s is able to create for them.

“Ellis [Griffith] has what’s called Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency (RTD). it’s an ultra-rare genetic disorder,” said Dallas resident Milly Griffith. “There are about 400 people in the world that we know of right now who have it. And the treatment for it, which is a treatment and not a cure, is high dose riboflavin, which is vitamin B2. It’s not a vitamin deficiency, but that’s what children need in order to not die from it. Before they identify the gene, many children would end up passing away from it.”

Milly and Chad Griffith found out about Ellis’ diagnosis when she was 18 months. The family thought initially that a doctor would be able to point them to their hospital pharmacy and give them the right prescription, but that wasn’t the case. They said it felt like they were on their own in finding a medicine with a high enough B2 dose in a form that Ellis could take.

“Ellis takes, I believe at this point, she takes 1,800 milligrams of vitamin B2 a day. Whereas, I think the normal amount for an adult female is, I think, between two and three milligrams a day,” Milly Griffith said. “I don’t know how many people have tried to get a child to swallow a pill, obviously that that wasn’t really going to happen. And so once we found Dougherty’s, it just was a huge game changer for us because we finally found a pharmacy who was willing to work with us to figure out how to get a liquid vitamin B2 that a child could actually take.”

The life-saving vitamin B2 medication made by Dougherty’s only has a two-week shelf life and has to be made the day it’s picked up. Milly Griffith said finding a pharmacy that could work under that time constraint was difficult.

“In emergencies, we literally have called [Dougherty’s] in the mornings and said, ‘We left this out, we left a full two-week bottle of this out in the middle of the night and she has to have this today.’ And they work with us, they’ve done that,” Milly Griffith said. “And the amount of panic you feel when you know that your child has to have that and there’s nothing that you can do yourself other than depend on this person who could say yes and could say no. To have that kind of trust and assurance that they’ll work with you is indescribable, really.”

Chad Griffith said Dougherty’s has been a great partner in their journey with Ellis and her medical needs. Since the disorder is so rare, the Griffith family created the “Cure RTD Foundation” in order to connect with other families who are going through the same thing they are.

“We do hear from other families that have to deal with a lot more hassle than we do, and they have questions and we just say ‘well we just get it from [Dougherty’s],’ and that’s the answer,” Chad Griffith said.

“Yeah, it’s hard because we want to be helpful, especially to new families who have small children who were stuck in the same boat that we were when we started. You know, we’ll say ‘Your best bet is a compounding pharmacy,’ but they end up hitting roadblocks that we just kind of easily sailed through because of Dougherty’s. And it’s so hard to not be able to say, ‘Just call this pharmacy’ because it’s so unique and special to Dallas,” Milly Griffith said.

Ellis Griffith is just one of just a few children in Texas with RTD, and the family hopes that one day the genetic disorder will be cured and Ellis won’t be dependent on her medication anymore.

“One of the really special and fantastic things about our RTD is that children are not affected cognitively. So while you have children who are delayed in language because they have the hearing loss, they are neurotypical. So that’s just really a huge blessing,” Milly Griffith said.

“I think people underestimate her a lot because of her physical appearance, but then she always surprises every single person she’s ever dealt with,” Chad Griffith said. “She has multiple therapists: occupational, speech, physical. She has her help at school with the aid. And I mean she has exceeded expectations of pretty much everyone along the way. So a lot of that is the current treatment we have and compounds that we get from Dougherty’s. And, you know, hopefully that’s just kind of a stopgap for us as we seek a cure long term. But yeah, she’s a feisty one.”