Campus Unveils Secure Vending Machine for OTC Products, Prescription Medications

November 26, 2014
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

On the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, a vending machine fulfills more urgent student needs than Cokes or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

On the Tempe campus of Arizona State University (ASU), a vending machine fulfills more urgent student needs than Cokes or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

After the school’s on-campus pharmacy closed, an ATM-like vending machine called InstyMeds allowed students to obtain prescriptions safely, according to a State Press article.

The machine holds 50 medications that are commonly prescribed to students, including antibiotics, asthma treatments, antihistamines, probiotics, anti-nausea medicine, vitamins, and smoking cessation aids, according to the State Press. InstyMeds’ website describes its products as OTC medications and acute prescription medications.

Christiana Moore, associate director of ASU Health Services, assured that narcotics and controlled substances would not be available to students, and that students were required to visit the on-campus health services provider in order to gain access to the machine, according to the State Press.

After a trip to the health services provider, students are then given a security code, which they must use within 24 hours, according to Moore. In addition to submitting the security code, students have to type in their date of birth, as well.

Moore told the State Press that the medication is then scanned 3 times before it is dispensed.

Then, students can pay for the medicine using their insurance or charge the costs to their student account with the school, she said.

A phone is also available at the machine, so that students can speak to a pharmacist with questions about the medication or its cost, according to Moore. The InstyMeds’ website states that its call center is staffed with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

According to InstyMeds’ website, some of the benefits to pharmacists include decreases in pharmacy callbacks and workload so that they can focus on more complex issues. The company also maintains that their machines benefit patients in that they can get access to medications at anytime.

ASU is the second university in the nation to use the InstyMeds system, according to Cronkite News.