New kiosks allow patients to get prescription meds faster

It’s a whole new way to get prescription medication.

A number of kiosks are popping up around Arizona.

They’re called APMs, or Automated Pharmacy Machines.

Instead of giving out money, they dispense medicine.

Ed Kilroy is the CEO of MedAvail, one of the companies that are installing the APMs.

“Pharmacy has had no innovation in the past 50 years,” said Kilroy. “The process of ordering and picking up your medication is exactly the same as it was 50 years ago. People want something different and this is it.”

A few weeks ago, several of APMs were strategically placed at grocery stores and health clinics across the state, including one at Bayless Integrated Healthcare in Mesa.

They’re designed to make it easier for patients to get their meds while providing prescriptions at a lower cost.

Jimmy Cantu likes the idea of not having to make another trip to a pharmacy after leaving the doctor.

“I think its great,” said Cantu. “Just like an ATM, you can get money and get your meds just as fast.”

Here’s how the APMs work:

A patient’s doctor will call in a prescription, just like a regular pharmacy.

The patient walks up and speaks to a real pharmacist through a video conference, providing a consult and answering any questions.

Patients show ID and any insurance.

Minutes later, the machine dispense their medication.

“Typically, when you’re doing a consult, the pharmacist comes up to the counter at the end,” said pharmacist Robert Squire. “In this case, we’re actually talking to them and getting to know the patient, as we are filling that prescription.”

Each APM or kiosk can carry more than 500 different prescriptions, which are stocked based on which drugs are most frequently prescribed at each location.

They do not contain any controlled substances.

Refills can often be picked up in less than 90 seconds, by using a smartphone app.

An additional 35 APMs are expected to pop up across the state this year.