Rx Vending Machines Make a New England Beachhead
Pharmacists in Massachusetts maysoon be facing competition from a newand controversial source: a proposednew pilot program designed to slashthe state's drug costs by allowing communityhealth care centers to dispenseprescription drugs through remote-controlledvending machines.
By eliminating the need for pharmacistsat remote clinics and homeless sheltersacross the state, advocates of theplan contend the machines will makedrugs more accessible to low-incomepeople while lowering the cost of healthcare throughout Massachusetts.
Pharmacists in the state considerthe Rx vending machine to be aninsult to the profession and a potentialdanger to patients who would bedeprived of face-to-face contact withpharmacists.
The Massachusetts pilot project ispatterned after a similar program inneighboring Rhode Island where severalRx vending machines are already inoperation at satellite clinics and shelters