Medical Vending Machines Popping Up In Jacksonville

Dec 4, 2016
Originally published on December 2, 2016 4:41 pm

Jacksonville Memorial Hospital recently started offering prescription medicine through an “RX-to-go” kiosk right in its emergency room.

The idea of on-demand medicine is taking off. Three Jacksonville pharmacists launched a medical vending machine of their own Friday.

Emergency patients at Memorial Hospital can now go directly from their beds to a kiosk for prescription medication on the way home.

When a patient needs to get medication, they video conference with a live pharmacist who pops up a screen to verify their prescription and insurance before dispensing.

The kiosk is open 24 hours and dispenses medicine within minutes, said Emergency Room medical director Frederick Jenkins.

“If it’s inconvenient for them to fill their medications, you wonder if it’s going to happen,” Jenkins said. “The more roadblocks you throw up or things like that, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to do it.”

The machine is stocked with common ER prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, just not controlled substances.

At the same time, three Jacksonville pharmacists have created their own vending machine, which is just for over-the-counter meds and personal hygiene products.

Co-creator Garlene Atcherson said the machine allows people to buy small doses of medicine.

“One of the occurrences that we’ve all seen is that people will come in and say ‘I need something for my headache,’ and sometimes they’ll say ‘well I don’t want to buy a whole package.’ ”

She said she envisions them going into large corporate areas, busy transportation terminals. and college dormitories.

The vending machine has a screen allowing people to read about the medicines and check the ingredients.

The creators unveiled the first machine Friday at the Beaver Street Enterprise Center. She said it will go in the lobby of Beaver Enterprise on Monday.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.

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