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Automated Pharmacy Systems Get Backing

Pill bottles in a pharmacy
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A Senate panel Monday approved a bill aimed at allowing pharmacies to use automated systems to dispense medications to customers. 

The proposal (SB 708), sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, was backed unanimously by the Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee.

“If proper safeguards are in place, the technology is reaching the point where something like this can be done,” said Sen. Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican who supported the bill.

The proposal would put a series of requirements on the automated systems, including that they would be under the supervision and control of pharmacists who would be available to counsel customers before drugs are dispensed.

Also, the systems would not dispense controlled substances. The bill must clear the Rules Committee before it could go to the full Senate. The House version (HB 59), sponsored by Rep. Matt Willhite, D-Wellington, has cleared two panels and needs to go before the House Health & Human Services Committee.