Are Pharmacy Vending Machines Coming to Maryland?

Technology is a crucial component of the healthcare industry. Not only do advancements in technology help pave the way for new medications and treatments, but they also lead to the development of new processes that may reduce the risk of a Maryland pharmacy error.

Recently, we wrote about pharmacist burnout being a significant contributor to Maryland pharmacy errors. While pharmacists typically work long hours, that is especially the case with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Thus, the issue of pharmacist burnout is a topical one in need of a solution. According to a recent news report, some experts are suggesting that pharmacists use vending machines to reduce the instances of errors.

While some countries have used vending machines for over-the-counter medications, for the most part, the United States has yet to do so. According to a proponent of the idea, vending machines could be stocked with common over-the-counter and prescription medications. The WIFI-enabled machine would have its own address to which physicians could e-prescribe medication. After a physician prescribed a medicine, the patient would go to their local pharmacy, type in their information, and receive the medication. Proponents of the vending machines agree that while some prescription drugs would be included in the machines, controlled substances would only be available through the pharmacist.

The idea behind using pharmacy vending machines is that it would lighten the burden on pharmacists by reducing the number of prescriptions that must be filled per shift. As a side benefit, the machines would also offer a cost-effective and convenient way for patients to pick up their medication.

Despite the proposed benefits, pharmacy vending machines are seeing some push back. Primarily, the concern is that a patient who picks up a medication though a vending machine will not have the opportunity to consult with the pharmacist. Typically, pharmacist consultations are considered one of the best protections against pharmacy errors. Proponents of the machines note that a pharmacist would still be charged with overseeing the machines, and could address any patient questions as they arose.

Of course, these machines would not eliminate the presence of human or machine error. For example, pharmacists or pharmacy technicians must accurately stock the machine, or patients will receive medication other than what they were prescribed. Similarly, there is a potential risk that an error in the coding could dispense the wrong medication to a patient.

Have You Been the Victim of a Maryland Pharmacy Error?

If you or someone you love has recently been harmed after a Maryland pharmacy error, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent injured individuals as well as their family members in all types of prescription error cases across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling pharmacy misfills and other matters involving medical malpractice. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, call 800-654-1949 today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.

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