Couldn't a machine replace Pharmacists?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Black Coffee, May 1, 2016.

  1. Black Coffee

    Black Coffee Member

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    Seems to me, given the salaries that profession demands, that the large chains would have jumped on this a long time ago.

    Not that I want this to happen, mind you - just curious why it hasn't happened.
     
  2. RedRock

    RedRock Member

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    Don't they just take the pills from the big bottles
    and put them into the small bottles?
     
  3. 65DuoSonic

    65DuoSonic Member

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    I've patronized several pharmacies with automated dispensing machines behind the counter. The machines did not dispense all of the drugs though. They were used for the more "popular" meds, I believe. Regardless, they still need the pharmacist for consultations. Also, pharmaceutical compounding might prove problematic for automation.
     
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  4. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Member

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    Nah,...Somebody is gonna have to fill the machines, who's going to do it?
     
  5. pepedede

    pepedede Member

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    Also I think the pharmacist is there to show discretion in the issuing of prescription drugs, especially things like oxycontin, valium etc which have rampant abuse and people steal prescriptions from the sick and elderly and then try to get the drugs themselves. I know it doesn't stop the problem and dodgy doctors giving them to anyone.
     
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  6. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    in some cases yes they could. I've used the same asthma med for decades. I know all there is to know about it and I could just get those from a vending machine and be none the worse off. Where pharmacists have a function is in advicing and educating people on the use of meds. A good pharmacist will get information across in a better way than a machine
     
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  7. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

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    I have a friend who is a pharmacist, and he was just telling the way companies are trying
    to cut staff.

    Not robots, but when you refill, they tell you via recording that your RX will be ready tomorrow
    evening. The vast majorityof people are fine with this.

    They then dont use local pharmacists, but instead they outsource those RX to a huge contractor
    in another state, and those are overnighted back to the local pharmacy.

    The only time a local pharmacist is then used is when you press the phone button for the option
    that you need it faster than next evening. They then use local pharmacists to fill those.
     
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  8. elron hoover

    elron hoover Member

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    Those are the techs that do all the "hard" work of filling the bottles and ringing people out. The pharmacist is the one in the longer white coat that looms over them and tries to look busy.

     
  9. Kyle Ashley

    Kyle Ashley Supporting Member

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    machines will eventually replace all of us.....and sooner than we realize
     
  10. ibis

    ibis Member

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    Machines will do a lot of the dispensing work (very) soon but the pharmacist's role will continue to be one of vigilance by checking Rx before they are sent for processing, as a final safeguard between prescriber and patient. That and patient counselling, as patients are often oblivious to the information they have, or may not have been given during consultation. Plus there is the role of guardian of the public's poisons that has been mentioned above.
    But yes, pharmacists are ultimately replaceable, as are general practitioners and many other 'protected' professions e.g. lawyers, accountants. Anything where hands-on skills are not necessary. Maybe even those will be replaced by machines one day. Fancy an appendix operation performed by a modified car assembly plant robot anyone?

    I am a pharmacist (age 54) that works in a funding environment that is being continually eroded by government, whilst it pays lip service to our skills and how we should be taking the pressure off GPs. Subsequently, staffing levels are always being cut and productivity increased. Frankly, the sooner a machine arrives to do the donkey work the better, as there will be no-one left! My working life is extremely busy and the pressure to maintain safety standards is stressful in a way that even non-phramacist line managers will never understand.
     
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  11. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    our pharm guy actually helps.. called around to check on prices w/ other pharms. gave advice on whether it was necessary for a certain script .. ect.. don't see a robot doing that...
     
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  12. Seth L

    Seth L Silver Supporting Member

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  13. teledude55

    teledude55 Supporting Member

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    seems like most of the Pharmacist's work is calling doctor's offices to verify renewed prescriptions and checking insurance, the actual filling of little bottles could get more automated.
     
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  14. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    Well, they put labels on some of the bottles too :dunno

    Build like another machine to do it and then form a union for them ... they'll catch on! :idea
     
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  15. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Pharmacists do a lot of behind the scenes work and problem solving that the average person doesn't get to see. I don't think current software and hardware have those capabilities yet. I'd guess pharmacists are safe for about 50 years or so, depending on what technology does. Sometimes the fancy technology can be more expensive than a pharmacist and crew.
     
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  16. mango

    mango Member

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    They should just have a "one armed bandit' style of machine.
    Instead of putting in money,just punch in three symptoms and give the arm a crank.

    Ingest what comes out .

    easy
     
  17. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Then there are drug interactions.

    Physicians don't get the extensive education pharmacists get regarding drugs. Patients are not always forthcoming with everything they are taking.

    I would never suggest docs don't know their biz, but this is one area where the men and women behind the counters are the experts. Drugs that have powerful therapeutic benefits also have potentially powerful side effects.

    Not sure automation is in our best interest.
     
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  18. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    Or where people are getting prescriptions from more than one provider, where each doesn't have a clue what the other is prescribing.
     
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  19. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    It's damn near there now. The legal drug pushers would love this. Increased revenues, decreased expenses. Perfect.
     
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  20. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Doctors are crooks. Thankyou Mr. CEO.
     

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