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Drug vending machines get preview at Queen’s Park

You can get cash, drinks and even T-shirts  from vending machines.

You can get cash, drinks and even T-shirts from vending machines.

How about prescription drugs?

The provincial government approved the concept of “remote dispensing” of medicines in Bill 179, passed late last year, such as through high-tech vending machines or pharmacy technicians in remote locations — all with electronic links to real, live pharmacists.

Proponents tout remote dispensing as a way to have pharmacy service in remote or underserviced areas or in hospitals overnight when it’s hard for a parent with a sick child to find a drugstore that’s open.

“You could have these in small towns without pharmacies and save people a lot of time,” said Peter Suma of Pharma Trust Inc., which makes high-tech drug dispensing machines that will be demonstrated to MPPs, political staff and bureaucrats at Queen’s Park today.

Health Minister Deb Matthews, who is under pressure to cut costs in the health care system, said she likes the idea.