Local News

Pharmacy Takes High-Tech Approach To Fill Prescriptions

Posted July 11, 2000

— Pharmacists are not the only ones who can fill prescriptions. A Zebulon pharmacy is taking a high-tech, non-human approach to dispensing drugs.

ScriptProis the newest pharmacist at Zebulon Drug Company. Pharmacist Tad Adams bought the automated dispensing system after losing two employees. He says ScriptPro allows him to spend more time with his customers.

"Answering questions, talking with them on the phone or with the physician," Adams says. "This gives us time to do that, to interact with people."

ScriptPro does not call in sick or take vacations. The machine is able to choose an appropriate size vial and go to the cell where the drug is located. It then counts the drug electronically, labels the bottle and brings it to the pharmacist.

The machine holds 200 of the most common pill or tablet form drugs and handles at least half of Zebulon Drug's prescriptions. The process is controlled by barcoding; however, pharmacists remain accountable.

"I look in the bottle and make sure, of course, that what is in the vial is on the screen," Adams says. "I'll just enter my PIN number, and it says that I have verified that prescription."

With an expected rise in business, Adams says automation is the coming thing.

"No human that I've seen yet can fill 100 prescriptions an hour as it can," Adams says.

The aging population is expected to increase prescription sales by 25 percent over the next three to four years. The number of pharmacists will increase only six percent.

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