New Castle pharmacist whipping up hand sanitizer to help meet demand


It's available in either a pump or spray bottle and she's willing to ship it

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WYTV) – Distilleries have been making hand sanitizer. Now a local pharmacist is trying her hand at it.

Ann Marie Rapone, who owns The Medicine Shoppe Compounding Pharmacy in New Castle, mixes a hand sanitizing solution in her lab.

“I love what we do. I love helping people,” she said.

Soon, it’ll be bottled.

“It’s fairly simple to make,” Rapone said.

When she heard there was a shortage of hand sanitizer, she wanted to help.

“I had everything that the formulation had, I have the people and I have the lab. So why not?”

Rapone follows the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. One of the most important? The solution must be at least 60% alcohol.

She keeps it simple.

“When you start adding stuff — fragrances and thickening agents — it can lower the amount of concentration in the alcohol and it can make it not as active. So I think the purer, the better.”

Once the solution is made, it mixes on a spinning plate so everything is evenly distributed.

Then it gets bottled and labeled. You can get either a pump bottle or a spray bottle.

Rapone said it’s important to use it correctly, making sure your hands are saturated and air-dry.

She is selling the hand sanitizer out of her store at 18 N. Mill Street but only one customer is allowed in at a time. Rapone will also ship it.

“Anything that we can contribute to help slow down the spread of the virus,” she said. “Makes me feel like I have an opportunity to help my community.”

To put in an order, call The Medicine Shoppe at 724-652-8132 or email

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