Magazine article Drug Topics

R.Ph. and Son Start Franchise by Turning 'Yucky' to 'Yummy'

Magazine article Drug Topics

R.Ph. and Son Start Franchise by Turning 'Yucky' to 'Yummy'

Article excerpt

Picture this: Little Amy is standing behind the counter with her mom, picking out her favorite flavor from the brightly colored menu of scrumptious options-ranging from Very Berry Punch to Bubble Gum. Not quite certain about her final selection, she asks for a little taste. She is quickly obliged with a sample cup of the stuff, which she dips into with her thumb.

A scene from the local ice cream parlor? Close ... but no soda. Actually, the above scenario is set in a local pharmacy, and it's one that soon could be coming to yours, or to a one close to you.

That's because the purveyor of these 30-some flavors is a father-son teamthe father is a pharmacist-that started a medication-flavoring company, called FLAVORx. And the team has already begun licensing its formulary of Food & Drug Administration-approved foodflavoring blends, thanks to customer demand and an overwhelming initial success.

Noted Kenneth Kramm, president, FLAVORx Inc., Washington, D.C., "When we started offering the flavorings in our store, the mothers were thrilled to death because they were so tired of hassling their kids to take their medicine. And to our surprise, the word spread rapidly around the Washington, D.C., area. We were getting people coming from 25, 30 miles away. I guess for people who have kids with chronic problems, the trip is worth it, especially if the child has to take some terrible-tasting medicine two or three times a day."

Kramm should know about compliance nightmares. In fact, his daughter Hadley's difficulties spurred the mother of invention, quite literally. About five years ago Hadley was born with a seizure disorder. Her mother, Shelley Kramm, had such a terrible time with the child spitting out and throwing up her medication that, in desperation, she resorted to mixing the medicine in with a scrambled egg.

The ploy worked; Hadley took her medicine. However, her father, concerned about efficacy, sought out an alternative. Said Kramm, "I went to the drugstore and experimented with different flavorings." When he finally arrived at a more palatable solution, he gave it to his daughter, and she was compliant immediately.

Inspired by this small victory, Kramm began to wonder whether other children and parents might benefit from his preparations. "We'd just moved into a bigger store. There was a children's hospital satellite on the top floor, and six pediatricians beneath us. I went to them and asked, 'Is this a frequent problem for all of you?' And they said, 'Absolutely. Yes.' " When they urged Kramm to find some flavorings to get kids to take even the worst-tasting antibiotics, Kramm undertook the slow process of concocting the optimal flavoring for a number of the more common, and more distasteful, children's medications.

"We worked on it for about three years," Kramm explained. "It was a lot of taste-testing and experimentation. My father handled the technical end of things." Methodically, Kramm and his father, Harold, tried scores of different FDA-approved concentrates from several companies, pinpointing which particular flavors tasted best alone or in combination. One of the biggest challenges, said Kramm, was flavoring a lidocaine preparation to accommodate a dentist's request. "Just two flavors and my tongue was so numb, I'd have to stop and wait an hour or two. I never want to do that one again," he chuckled. …

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