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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

A Prescription for Care : Johnson Compounding and Wellness Pharmacy Continues Longstanding Legacy

Oct 29, 2017 08:28PM ● By Wendy Lewis

Big changes often bring about endings. But for a neighborhood pharmacy, change is helping a tradition continue.

Johnson Compounding and Wellness, in Waltham, has recently changed hands from previous co-owners and pharmacists Stephen and Diane Bernardi to Pharmacy Manager John Walczyk, PharmD, RPh, FIACP, FACA and Andrew Stein, PharmD, RPh. Though the Bernardis have stepped down during their 30th anniversary of ownership, they will continue to work in the front store, continuing a tradition of topnotch customer care. “Our patients are our number one concern and the reason for our existence, and we know John and Andy will make us proud,” says Diane Bernardi.

Graduates from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy with a doctor of pharmacy degree, both Stein (2005) and Walczyk (2006) have since worked in independent compounding pharmacy for more than 12 years and have received numerous awards in the field, including Walczyk’s 2011 Massachusetts Innovative Pharmacist of the Year. Walczyk serves on the Pharmacy Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy and Stein is currently serving as an acting board member on the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy.

Steeped in a Rich History

The pharmacy takes its name from Horace I. Johnson, who opened the business in 1852 on Main Street, in Waltham. The Tankel family bought the business in the 1920s and operated it until 1987, when they sold it to Steve and Diane Bernardi. Under the ownership of the Bernardis, Johnson Compounding and Wellness experienced tremendous growth and change, expanding its staff from six employees in 1987 to nearly 50 today. Walczyk and Stein are excited to be the fourth owners of this 165-year-old neighborhood pharmacy, stating, “We truly look forward to continuing our legacy of providing the highest quality of personalized care for those who depend upon us.”

Over the years, the pharmacy’s offerings have grown and evolved, reflecting both modern advances in pharmaceuticals and the ever-changing needs of its customers. Today, it is a premier pharmacy in the Northeast serving 15 states throughout the country, and it has earned an international presence in the world of supplements. It was one of the first independent pharmacies of its kind to have a dual focus on natural medicine and now offers a full range of nutritional supplements, natural products and homeopathic remedies. It is Massachusetts’ first sterile and non-sterile compounding pharmacy accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

As a compounding pharmacy, Johnson Compounding and Wellness is able to address specific customer concerns. Unlike mass-produced drugs, compounded medications are created from scratch in small batches by mixing individual ingredients together in the exact strength and dosages specified by a patient’s provider. Compounding allows patients to avoid unwanted allergens, excipients and other potentially harmful dyes and fillers. Medications may also be created in varied forms, such as suppositories, troches, creams, ointments, eye drops, capsules and liquids. With its focus on compounding and natural remedies, the pharmacy supports the principles of integrative medicine. Pharmacy staff and patient providers work closely to offer an enlightened “whole person” approach.

The wellness center at Johnson Compounding has become popular for its on-site expertise and educational offerings with more than 10 pharmacists, a registered nurse and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Gary Kracoff, who brings new and exciting remedies to the vast selection of homeopathic and wellness supplement lines. The new owners will continue a regular schedule of on-site lectures that offer ample opportunities for anyone to learn how to better take charge of their health. A wealth of information—videos, blog articles and a newsletter—is also available on the pharmacy’s website.

Many come to Johnson Compounding and Wellness for alternatives to mainstream medicine. Katie Nolan, the pharmacy’s director of pharmacy education, says bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has become popular among both men and women, as well as compounded solutions for pain management, thyroid issues, and even pediatric and veterinary needs.

The staff at Johnson Compounding and Wellness always keeps an eye on the latest advances in health and wellness, bringing the latest treatments and innovations to its customers. The pharmacy is now the premier source for low-dose Naltrexone, prescribed for chronic pain and many autoimmune diseases, and Serum Tears, prescribed as a natural treatment for dry eye. It is also one of the first pharmacies in the state to offer genetic testing and targeted therapies. As it has since 1852, Johnson Compounding and Wellness will continue its legacy of bringing the best in pharmaceutical wellness to the customers of today—and the future.

Johnson Compounding and Wellness is located at 577 Main St., Waltham. For more information or questions, call 781-893-3870. Visit for a virtual tour, event calendar and more.

Wendy Lewis is a frequent contributor to the Boston and Rhode Island editions of Natural Awakenings.