Medicine vending machine trialed at U.K. supermarket

Two Sussex supermarkets have begun a year-long trial of vending machines to dispense prescriptions.

The machines, at Sainsbury’s in Haywards Heath and West Green, allow patients to collect medicines without speaking to a pharmacist.

It is the first trial of the machines in the UK, according to the supermarket.

Customers must register for a unique ID and Pin number and can deposit NHS prescriptions using a special envelope.

Each machine, which can hold up to 450 packs of medicines, will issue a printed receipt with a collection time. The dispensed medicines will contain instructions for the patient.

Sainsbury’s professional services manager David Gilder said: “The vending machines provide a secure and convenient way for customers to obtain prescribed medication at a time that suits them.”

“At the same time we also know that our customers value the option of speaking to a pharmacist so this is an additional service for customers who may prefer it.”

“We will evaluate feedback from customers and our in-store pharmacists before taking a decision on whether to roll them out to more stores.”

Remote pharmacy vending machines are expected to be trialed at UK hospitals later this year, providing a video link between patients and pharmacists.

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