Walgreens Gets Robotic on Filling Prescriptions
Technology has changed the way we shop, interact with each other and get our news. Now it is changing the way your prescriptions will be filled, at least at Walgreens.
No, you will not walk up to the pharmacy counter at your local Walgreens and encounter a robotic pharmacist. In fact, chances are good that the only change you see will be that the pharmacists smile more and have more time to interact with you.
The robots processing prescriptions will be located in 22 centers scattered across the country. Prescriptions from each region will be sent to the robotic processing centers to be filled by robots and then sent to the appropriate Walgreens retail site.
Currently, at the first of the prescription processing centers located in Dallas, Texas, the robots fill about 300 prescriptions an hour. It would take a living pharmacist and their staff roughly a day to fill the same number.
What Happens to the Pharmacists?
According to Walgreens, none of their pharmacists are going anywhere, their job description will just be altered a bit.
Pharmacists in the stores will still be responsible for filling prescriptions that are time-sensitive or those for controlled substances. The time that is freed up in the pharmacists’ days by using robots to fill prescriptions is to be used to get back to the basics of pharmacy care, interacting with and building relationships with the people they serve.
Are Other Pharmacies Using robots?
Walgreens is not alone; they are just the pharmacy chain making headlines for their move to use robots to fill prescriptions. CVS very quietly implemented a similar strategy. They aren’t talking much about it and refuse to say just what percentage of their prescriptions are currently being filled by robots.
CVS is using robots to cut costs even further. In 2020, they partnered with a Silicon Valley Robotics firm to begin delivering prescriptions with its fleet of autonomous vehicles.
Depending on the success of these robotic prescription warehouses, it seems likely that the other major chains, including Rite Aid and the pharmacies found in retail and grocery stores, will follow suit shortly.
Both CVS and Walgreens insist that these moves toward automated pharmacy care are not about cutting jobs, but rather about increasing efficiency so that they can remain relevant in the highly competitive retail pharmacy game. Still, cost-cutting almost always gets around to decreasing staff numbers, so we will just have to hope that these retail pharmacies really are interested in improving their relationships with their customers, not just making money.
rxless Will Still Offer You Savings on Your Prescriptions
The rxless prescription discount card will still work at all of the above-mentioned pharmacies, regardless of whether they use pharmacy robots to fill prescriptions or not. If you are healthy and taking medications for the prevention of illness, or if you are suffering from sickness and need an Rx to get better, rxless can offer you savings. All the prescription medications you need to protect your health and wellness can be purchased at your choice of local pharmacies at a substantial discount when you present our card.