Medical ATMs: Machines to dispense free medicine in Madhya Pradesh


Madhya Pradesh: With state health department planning to introduce automated medicine dispensing machines, a sea change is expected to be seen in the medicine distribution industry.

The new and unique machines, similar to ATMs, will be able to recognize prescriptions and dispense medicines.

A trial run of the project will take place at five rural health centres in Betul district, some 180 km from the state capital, told director health in charge hospital maintenance, Dr KK Thassu to TOI.

The project is likely to begin in July with only basic generic drugs available initially in the machines.

Here is how the Automated medicine dispenser, guided by a local health worker will function:

  • Once a patient comes to the healthcare centre, his/her blood pressure and pulse will be checked by a machine installed along with the dispenser.
  • Healthcare worker will then link the patient with a telemedicine doctor, who after registering the case will automatically alert the machine to dispense medicines.

Central Medical Services Society (CMSS), a Central procurement agency under Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) is the pioneer behind the scheme.

The need for on-site pharmacist and doctor will be be overcome by remote dispensing in rural healthcare environments.

“The patient data captured and registered electronically will also generate valuable epidemiological data”, say officials.

It is estimated that 600 odd Primary Health Centers(PHCs) are functioning without a doctor and about two dozen Community Health Center(CHCs) do not have a ‘single’ doctor.