Sunday, March 15, 2009

Toronto vending machines dispense prescription drugs

From the National Post:
Hundreds of Toronto patients have been picking up their prescription drugs in recent months much as they withdraw cash or buy a can of cola -- from special vending machines that some observers believe could transform the pharmacy business.

Customers insert their prescription into a slot in the device and a few minutes later, it spits out their medication.

Proponents say the Canadian-made drug kiosks, which feature a video link to a real pharmacist, offer convenience when there is no pharmacy open or close by. Skeptics, though, warn the machines will never duplicate the benefits of meeting in person with a druggist.

Pharmacy regulators, meanwhile, seem sympathetic, with the profession's governing body in Ontario releasing proposed legislative changes this week that would open the door to wider use of such technology.

"I think it could be the next BlackBerry," said Dr. Sharon Domb, medical director of family medicine at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which has been testing the technology. "The feedback has been positive: ‘It's great, it's fast, I don't have to go anywhere else.' " ...more

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