#AnyTimeMedicines: Machines to dispense drugs in government
Tamil Nadu is planning to launch an ATM-like vending machine that will dispense medicines to patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. The aim is to reduce waiting time and out-of-pocket expenditure, officials said.

The unit works like a cash-vending machine. The medicine dispensing unit is proposed to be placed at government medical college hospitals and urban primary health centres in the pilot phase. It will be programmed to read barcoded prescriptions and dispense medicines, said health secretary Dr. J Radhakrishnan. “The biggest advantage is that it allows us to keep track of patients with chronic ailments. Patients who need long-term therapy are asked to meet their doctors once in three months. The hospitals give them drugs for one month and ask them to come back for supplies for next two months. The third time, they meet the doctor,” he said. It will help the government tide over staff crunch in state pharmacies, ensure follow ups on patients and allow people from other sections of the society to avail the free services at the government hospitals.

Earlier this month, officials saw a demo of similar machines installed in states like Rajasthan and were impressed by its potential. The machine can detect repeat prescriptions and recommend doctor visits to patients, said state nodal officer for NCDs Dr. Jerard Selvam. “If they scan a prescription twice and the patient is due for doctors’ visit, it will not dispense the drugs,” he said. It will also maintain data on the number of people taking medications and those who skip it,” he said.

Read more: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/machines-to-dispense-drugs-in-govt-hosps/articleshow/67136159.cms