By Aimee Chanthadavong

Discount Drug Stores is trialling a robotic dispensing system in two of its Queensland in hope that it will cut waiting times, increase efficiency and improve customer service.

The robotic automatic dispensing systems, known as Rowa, can store 97 per cent of a pharmacy’s dispensary, with pharmacists able to store 4,000 medications per linear metre as opposed to the current 800, resulting in significant space savings for stores.

They also store the medicines by expiry date, size and rate of sales, with pharmacists now simply needing to key the name of the medication they require into the computer to receive it, rather than having to manually look through shelves and draws.

Discount Drug Stores partner and director, Rosa Chen, believes the move to automated dispensing will make a big difference to the pharmacy brand’s efficiency and level of care and will be fundamental to pharmacies remaining sustainable and competitive into the future.

“The automatic dispensers will help take the stress off our pharmacists during peak times with customers benefitting from decreased waiting times for scripts to be filled, whilst clearing that much space will enable our pharmacies to provide customers with on-going health services such as naturopathy, or with a consulting room where they can go to speak to the pharmacist privately about their health,” she said.

Sunny Park Discount Drug Store in Brisbane and Richardson Road Discount Drug Store in Rockhampton are the  first stores in the brand to test the new German engineered robots.

“Whilst it is a significant investment that may take up to seven years to pay off, automated dispensing will play a key role in growing this side of the business,” Chen said.

“The overall benefits are expected to be significant so we believe it will be very worthwhile.”

Discount Drug Stores will trial the robots for up to six months before evaluating whether they will be rolled out in more of the brand’s stores.