Published on August 8, 2023 by Frank Ruggiero  
randy davis
Samford Pharmacy alum Randy Davis is the founder and owner of Designer Drugs in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he developed a groundbreaking treatment for cataracts.

Randy Davis has a vision—to help others restore theirs.

Davis, a 1988 graduate of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, is the founder and owner of Designer Drugs in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he developed a groundbreaking treatment for cataracts.

It began when he was approached by an optometrist, who explained that cataract patients were struggling with a complicated regimen involving three different eye-drops to be taken before and after surgery. The optometrist suggested combining the drops into one bottle, but doing that alone would reduce the drugs’ potency.

That’s when Davis stepped in—and into his compounding lab.

“I knew I could build this from the ground up—one drop to provide all three drugs at the right concentrations,” he said. “That was my goal.”

Over the next few months, Davis developed CatarActive3. It didn’t take long to realize its impact.

“It really helped patients with their regimen,” Davis said, noting that it also helped them save money. “Three co-pays can be cost-prohibitive. Many patients would actually avoid surgery because they couldn’t afford therapy.”

And it wasn’t only patients seeing the benefits.

“The whole purpose of compounding is to help patients with their individual, specific needs,” Davis said. “But this seemed to help more than the patients—surgery centers, doctors, staff, the pharmacy formulary side. It was a bigger deal than we ever thought it would be.”

Davis gradually guided Designer Drugs through licensing in all 50 states, exponentially expanding CatarActive3’s accessibility. In 2022, Davis and company dispensed 43,752 bottles of CatarActive3. Now, they’re up to 900 per week.

That includes treatment for patients in a place near and dear to Davis’s heart: Haiti. For the past five years, he’s visited Haiti with friend Luckson Previl, whose Every Eye Will See Him Ministries provides complimentary cataract surgery and treatment to Haitians in need. Davis travels there twice a year, accompanied by volunteer surgeons.

“Many Haitians don’t have access to medical care and go blind from cataracts,” he said. “I get to tell my patients there that I made this drop for them. It’s amazing. It’s the miracle of giving sight back to people. Their lives are changed.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.