Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pharmacies introduce new automated technology

A new pharmacy in Yekaterinburg allows customers to be served by robots.

The pharmacy, run by Rigla, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Protek, uses an employee to enter a list of medicines into the system, which is then collected by a robot in 10 to 15 seconds. The order is transported by conveyer belt to the cash register, the Moscow Times reports.

The robots can also sort and distribute medicine at the warehouse, where a pharmacy employee puts medicine on the conveyer belt that is then scanned by robots and put on the proper shelf.

The pharmacy now employs only five people, compared with the 10 usually employed at conventional drug stores. Rigla said the store is using space more efficiently as well.

The robots cost $256,000 and the pharmacy's revenue is approximately $637,350 per month. If successful, the project will be issued out to other Rigla pharmacies, the Moscow Times reports.

Russia's largest pharmacy chain, A5, is also researching the technology, according to Andrei Gusev, the chain's CEO. He added that Paris' five largest pharmacies were equipped with similar technology.

Yelena Nevolina, the executive director of the Pharmacy Guild, said that Russia only has a few drugstores using the system. Gusev said that this is most likely due to high costs, the Moscow Times reports.