In The Terminator, machines seek to exterminate what is left of the human race. And in pharmacy, pharmacists are beginning to look at the future of the role of the pharmacist. The Texas Pharmacists Association’s opening session asks if will pharmacist “ numbers will dwindle as most dispensing activities are replaced by robotics.”
We’re all for pharmacists rethinking and reclaiming their role as health care providers, but a recent report found that those nifty robots might not be as benign as we thought. According to a study, in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Robotic drug dispensers can be contaminated with dangerous bacteria. “During routine screening, staffers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina discovered Bacillus cereus bacteria in drug samples dispensed by a robot used to prepare intravenous medications in a sterile environment.” To complicate matters, this bacteria is resistant to many commonly used disinfectants and is associated with the machine’s washing station and tubing.
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