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Balances and Prescription Weighing

When most people think of a pharmacy they often envision a person in a white lab coat weighing out different medicines. As a tool of the trade, scales have always been closely associated with pharmacies. For example, in It’s A Wonderful Life, Mr. Gower’s pharmacy has a scale, as do most movie depictions of pharmacies.

While many movie depictions of doctors and other professionals are fanciful or exaggerated, in this case they are accurate. For prescription weighing in the United States all pharmacies are required by law to have a Class A prescription balance.

To many people the word balance brings to the mind the balance used in their high school chemistry classes – a long bar with a pan on one end and sliding weights on the bar, or, perhaps, a long bar with a pan on each end and a set of weights. While the basic idea is the same, a Class A prescription balance is a much more precise and accurate tool.

The Class A Prescription balance consists of two pans and uses both internal and external weights. The internal weights are for those items weighing less than 1 gram while the external weights are for items heavier than 1 gram. They are required to have a sensitivity of 6 milligrams, or 0.1 gram. In other words it will accurately measure changes in weight as small as 0.1 gram.

These are minimum requirements for such a scale, one that our DRX-3 mechanical balance not only fully meets but exceeds by providing such features as magnetic dampening to allow for quicker weighing, a sealed case that provides protection against dust and chemicals as well as having a Plexiglas lid tall enough to weigh while being closed, and torsion beams made of an alloy that allows accurate weighing across a variety of different temperatures and resists corrosion.

Of course today’s modern digital scales provide even more precise measurements than the Class A balance and can be paired with pill counting and compounding equipment to provide accurate and cross contaminant free weighing. Contact us for more information on the variety of Torbal scales and systems available and how they can fit your needs.