Does technology ever cease to amaze us? In a few months, 40 new drug dispensing machines will be available throughout Ontario. So instead of visiting your local pharmacist, you can access one of these machines to obtain your medications. Okay, maybe we’re making this seem a little bit effortless, so let’s start with how did this all come about.
In December 2009, legislation allowing prescriptions to be filled by a machine without the physical presence of a pharmacist was announced. However, it was not until March 18, 2011 that the Government of Ontario passed regulations that would fully enable remote pharmacy dispensing in all areas of the province. With that being said, the machines are still being operated by a pharmacist, but the pharmacist is just in a different area. Pretty neat, right?
The creator of the machines, PharmaTrust, is an Oakville-based company and can dispense over 2000 different medications. This is not supposed to make the PharmaTrust sound like a miracle machine that can dispense any type of drug, which is why narcotics will not be available at these drug dispensing machines. Furthermore, through a pilot project (a test trial) that began in June 2008, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has two operating dispensing machines. The way that these machines work are pretty simple; patients feed their prescriptions into the machine, and are connected to a pharmacist through a webcam-like feature. These pharmacists also have control over the medication(s) being dispensed and they can answer all of the patient’s questions and concerns.
Some good things about the PharmaTrust machines are that they will provide 24 hour access to pharmacy services without the barriers of distance, language, or costs associated with traditional pharmacies. What do you think about these new drug dispensing machines?