Florida Bill Would Allow Vending Machines for Prescription Drugs

Florida’s state legislature will consider a bill that would permit pharmacies to operate medication-dispensing kiosks. The automated pharmacy systems would operate like vending machines for prescription drugs and would not have to be located at a pharmacy, which could potentially increase access to medication in underserved areas. Kevin Sneed, dean of the Taneja College of Pharmacy at the University of South Florida, says pharmacists should welcome the automation and expanded access, but he said the bill should require patients who use the kiosks to first speak with a pharmacist. In most cases, the kiosks could facilitate those conversations through a video chat. The bill includes language that the systems must be operated under the supervision and control of a pharmacist. Sneed says requiring this interaction would ensure that patients are using their medications correctly. State law already allows the use of similar systems by correctional institutions, hospices, and long-term care facilities, and the Florida Board of Pharmacy recently allowed drug dispensing machines to be used in hospitals in Jacksonville and Miami.

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