Somatic

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2007
215
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
Is retail pharmacy going to be totally replaced by robots in 10 years? Some people, especially professors and hospital pharmacists say this will happen. Just wondering what people think because I can either take a job with a retail company that I worked as an intern for or apply for residencies. What would you do and what do you think about the future of retail pharmacy vs other practice areas?
 

Momus

10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2008
3,425
1,808
Status
Pharmacist
Robot can't make clinical judgment and the technology to mass produce to make it cost effective are not there yet in 10 years. The cost of making an advanced robot like ASIMO about $1M and the robot is still clumsy.. maybe in ~30 years.

More feasible way:
1. The law changes that a pharmacist is not needed in the pharmacy to dispense medication
2. A low wage worker getting paid $8/h, scan rx and transmit the image/data to China/India where a pharmacist there working in a cubicle call center get paid <$5/hour review rxs. It's happening with IT, Financial services, Telecom, Consumer goods services, Manufacturing. Why do you think it can't happen with pharmacy?
3. Once verified, 2nd low wage worker fill rx
4. 3nd low wage worker double check
5. Dispense medication by teleconference counseling through high speed internet when required
6. Death of US pharmacists...

I bet CVS, WAG, RAD, WMT lobbyists' working hard to make this happen in the future...
 

rph3664

7+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2010
2,464
365
Status
Pharmacist
Momus, you are spot on.

:rolleyes:

p.s. Robots can't give flu shots, not yet.
 
OP
Somatic

Somatic

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2007
215
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
It seems like there would be some major safety issues if any of those scenarios occured. Plus I don't think boards of pharmacy would ever allow this to happen? Although I do think the future of retail pharmacy is VERY uncertain, I don't think clinical pharmacy is neccesarily more secure since technology may have a negative impact in this area as well...I think walmart's $4 program was the start of a downward spiral for retail pharmacy as this has made people believe drugs are a cheap commodity...
 
Oct 22, 2009
67
0
Status
Pharmacist
It seems like there would be some major safety issues if any of those scenarios occured. Plus I don't think boards of pharmacy would ever allow this to happen? Although I do think the future of retail pharmacy is VERY uncertain, I don't think clinical pharmacy is neccesarily more secure since technology may have a negative impact in this area as well...I think walmart's $4 program was the start of a downward spiral for retail pharmacy as this has made people believe drugs are a cheap commodity...
Good point. As it stands right now, there is no incentive to pushing pharmacists out of their current role in retail. We don't add a huge cost to healthcare seeing as we fill thousands of prescriptions a week along with providing free cognitive services. No lawmaker would approve sweeping changes like that right now without incentive. The first time something as misfilled or an error occured, he'd be crucified. I'm not worried at ALL about pharmacy becoming obsolete in the next 10 years. The next 20-25 years though is a different story. I think it is 100% likely in that time we will automate drug safety and delivery to the point where having a pharmacist check every prescription will be a waste of time.
 

samuricool

10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2008
363
84
Status
Pharmacist
Just last week I walked into my local grocery store and in between the 15 checkout lanes was this huge pharmacy ATM machine. It was only meant to dispense refills of medications that were not bulk size and did not need to be refrigerated. I know the pharmacist there so I stopped by to talk to him about it. Apparently he is a test store to see how well this machine works. It is meant to help those people who either do not wish to swing by the pharmacy to pick up their prescription or can not make it into the store during pharmacy hours.
 

rph3664

7+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2010
2,464
365
Status
Pharmacist
Just last week I walked into my local grocery store and in between the 15 checkout lanes was this huge pharmacy ATM machine. It was only meant to dispense refills of medications that were not bulk size and did not need to be refrigerated. I know the pharmacist there so I stopped by to talk to him about it. Apparently he is a test store to see how well this machine works. It is meant to help those people who either do not wish to swing by the pharmacy to pick up their prescription or can not make it into the store during pharmacy hours.
I first heard of these being proposed about 10 years ago.