In Brief

Medicine vending machines will be tested in two of the chain's locations starting this month.

Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK will be testing out automated prescriptions in two stores starting this month. Customers, using an ID and PIN number (or fingerprint scan) scan their empty medicine, place it in an envelope and drop it into the machine. They are then issued a receipt with pickup time. A licensed pharmacist checks the medicine is properly prescribed and replaces the medicine pack into the unit for customer pickup with quick same day turn around times possible. Sainsbury’s Head of Pharmacy Michael Luck estimates 80% of prescriptions are repeat refills so the streamlining benefit is significant. To avoid consumer care concerns, the machines are not offered as a replacement for the option of speaking to a pharmacist about a medication.

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