Prescription Drugs Coming to a Machine Near You


Express Scripts expands its prescription kiosk sites.

MedAvail machine
Contacting pharmacist

Contacting pharmacist

Express Scripts and healthcare tech firm MedAvail expect to have 15 of their new self-service kiosk pharmacies in use by the end of this year.

While the PBM officially announced the MedCenter pilot rollout in early June, Express Scripts and MedAvail extensively tested MedCenter first. “MedAvail has had close to 1,000 discreet people use the MedCenters. The first units were deployed in late 2017 and the balance since then,” Jennifer Luddy, spokesperson for Express Scripts, told Drug Topics.

MedCenter kiosks can safely and securely dispense chronic, acute, and OTC medications under the supervision of licensed pharmacists, and are compatible with both handwritten and electronic prescriptions, according to Express Scripts.

MedCenters are capable of dispensing between 40 and 300 orders per day, depending on the different models of MedCenters, according to Luddy.

People who use MedCenter can have 24/7 access to comprehensive, multi-lingual pharmacist service through private audio-visual communications built into the pharmacy center, as well as an integrated smartphone app.

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“Licensed pharmacists perform the professional functions associated with prescription dispensing, including review of medical history, allergy, potential interaction with other drugs being taken, and patient counseling, so safety concerns can be addressed prior to picking up the prescription,” Express Scripts says.

The official pilot project for the MedCenter kiosk, which can dispense a prescription in under 90 seconds, includes six kiosks at grocery stores, pharmacies and medical clinics in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Express Scripts will roll out 15 of the kiosks in Arizona by the end of this year, Luddy said. “Over the course of the next year, we expect to expand to Illinois,” she added.

Current sites for the kiosks include: APM Pharmacy in Tuscon, Bayless clinics in Phoenix, El Herradero Grocery in Tuscon, and Banner Emergency Department in Phoenix. Express Scripts members living in these areas-and customers of the Inside RxSM prescription savings program that provides discounts on medications to people who are uninsured or underinsured-can choose to fill their medication at the MedCenter sites.

“Technology-and a culture shift-allow us the opportunity to evolve and simplify healthcare services to better accommodate our busy schedules, which in turn can lead to better adherence and outcomes,” said Glen Stettin, MD, chief innovation officer at Express Scripts, in a statement. “Through our work with MedAvail’s prescription dispensing technology, we are examining how MedCenter … can provide patients with safe and cost-effective pharmacy care close to where they live, work, or get their medical care.”

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