Robots Will Soon Fill Prescriptions For Pharmacists

Pharmacists spend most of their day filling scripts and counting pills. Often times they seem rushed and have very little time for a customer’s questions.  That may change with the implementation of a robotic pill dispenser capable of filling 5,000 scripts a day. 

The system is powered by a mix of computers, machinery and robots. It will print the prescription labels, locate the right drugs, fill and seal and send the bottle on its way. 

It’s not a fool proof process; mistakes can happen but are very rare with one out of 400,000 occurring.  Pharmacists are trained to double check the work of the robots.  The mistake could be as simple as a misprinted label. 

Aside from the entire unit being encased in glass with technicians and pharmacists milling around, it looks like it could package candy or chips. 

Recently, the pharmacy at the University of California at San Francisco launched a robotic dispensing system to handle standard pills. Eighty five percent of the hospitals drugs are handled by the new system.  

The next goal is to have the robot be able to dispense IV and chemotherapy drugs. Those drugs require precise mixing and counting. 

Pharmacists will be able to let the machines do most of the work while they consult customers or patients and handle other tasks.  


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