Prescription Vending Machines: the Pharmaceutical Wave of the Future

July 29th, 2011

You can purchase an impressive variety of wares from vending machines these days: iPods, pizza, umbrellas, and lobsters (thank you, Japan!) Next in line for instant dispensing? Prescription drugs!

The Molina medical clinics in Southern California will be the newest medical establishments to use these “robotic pharmacies”. Since the Minnesota-based InstyMeds corps unveiled the prescription med vending machines in 2002, they have been implemented in 200 locations around the country.

While the Molina clinics’ machines will be operated by medical personnel, in some locations patients obtain their medication by entering their birth date and a code. While this security may seem insufficient to ward off prowlers, the only drugs available for purchase will be those with low abuse potential such as remedies for colds, flus, and rashes.

Many Molina patients are raving about the new additions and the convenience they provide. Critics are concerned, however, that the machines will not be able to provide the same level of guidance as a human pharmacist. This is probably true, but is such guidance really necessary when taking cough medicine? Let us know what you think!

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