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Profile of an Entrepreneurial Leader: Sue Horton

Sue Horton, RPh
Central Iowa Compounding
Urbandale, Iowa

Almost ten years ago while driving to work at Uptown Pharmacy in Des Moines, Iowa, Sue Horton received a call from her husband to turn on the radio and listen to a morning talk show. That day the topic was natural hormone therapy. Sue had recently joined the Pharmaceutical Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) and was compounding bio-identical hormone preparations at Uptown. Sue called into the radio program and gave the pharmacy name, all day the phone rang off the hook. Uptown Pharmacy received calls from women and men across the country who wanted to know more about bio-identical hormones. Now in 2005, Sue is an entrepreneurial leader through her innovative practice at Central Iowa Compounding. With four pharmacists, three technicians, and a dozen pharmacy students and externs, the specialty compounding pharmacy practice is flourishing.

Central Iowa Compounding prepares a large variety of medications for humans and animals. At its root, compounding is problem solving, the practice of preparing medication products that are not commercially available. Central Iowa Compounding’s scope of practice includes pediatric preparations, veterinarian medicine, in-office therapies for physician practices, sterile preparations, and their primary focus, bio-identical hormone therapy.

Sue describes that her passion for hormone therapy began because of the history of breast and testicular cancer in her family. She was invited to attend a seminar about compounding pharmacy in the early 1990s and from there followed her spirit and developed a love of compounding. Along with her friend and colleague, Caroline Walker, Sue now teaches a Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy course through adult education in Des Moines, Iowa. Continuing her own education, Sue attends six to eight conferences a year to learn the new practices, ideas, and thoughts in hormone therapy and compounding pharmacy. She soon plans to be a pioneer student in an upcoming Wayne State program and achieve a Masters degree in Hormone Therapy.

While in Des Moines, Sue’s days are filled with patient consultations. On a referral basis from area physicians, Sue spends between one and three hours with each patient. During that time she reviews their family history, risk factors, prescription and over-the-counter medication history, menstrual history, bone density, thyroid and hormone related symptoms. The patient completes a saliva hormone test and with those results Sue is able to develop a customized bio-identical hormone plan. Her patients range from twelve to eighty years old and include men and women.

While obviously successful in 2005, Sue has not yet met her goal. Following her innovative entrepreneurial spirit she hopes to develop a holistic, functional medicine practice in the future. To learn more, contact Central Iowa Compounding.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Analysis:

How did Sue identify this opportunity?
Sue Horton is a pharmacist and was practicing traditional retail pharmacy when two separate situations presented themselves to her, creating a potential opportunity. Sue was invited by a colleague to participate in a meeting to learn more about the practice of compounding pharmacy. Not long after that meeting Sue had implemented compounding as a niche in her retail practice. Then the radio show gave her the avenue she needed to spread the word of her service and see the public interest. Combining the recent acquired education and the emergence of a new market segment Sue identified the opportunity to develop a specialty pharmacy practice.

How has Sue harvested this venture?
Through her relationship with physicians and the word of mouth of her patients, Sue has harvested the venture of Central Iowa Compounding. She went beyond compounding as a part of her practice of pharmacy and has absorbed this new concept into mainstream operations by implementing and managing a practice with the primary purpose of providing compounded medications both through professional service and consumable product.