Robot Helps To Fill Prescriptions At Henderson Drug Store
Posted January 27, 2006 7:01 a.m. EST
HENDERSON, N.C. — Henderson's newest pharmacy is small, but it is taking on the larger drug chains in town by filling prescriptions faster, thanks to a new robotic employee.
"The machine will deal on an average of 150 prescriptions per hour. There aren't many pharmacists out there that can do that," said Gary Bowman, of Best Care Pharmacy.
Bowman said the robot has never made a mistake. It counts the pills, pours them in bottles and adds the labeling. The pharmacist checks the refill before handing it to the customer. The robot works for customer Robert Fuller.
"I went looking for a robot. They had to show it to me and yes, I was impressed," he said.
"As long as the electricity is running, it's running, so it never has to ask for a day off. It never asks for a vacation. That makes it a good employee," Bowman said.
There is one full-time pharmacist on duty. The robot allows the smaller pharmacies to do more with less at a faster pace.
The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy says the practice of using robots is not widespread, but it is not new. Duke University has been using them for 20 years. The practice is accepted by all medical drug plans including Medicare.