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August 2002 issue Pharmacy Today magazine


Unichem CEO Tim Roper (left) and Pharmacy One's Greg MacPherson get ready for robotic dispensing.

Unichem has taken a 50% shareholding in the robotic dispensing system operating out of Pharmacy One's Auckland premises.

The union sews up the two robotic dispensing machines - they will only be available to Unichem, Dispensary First and Life pharmacies, as well as Pharmacy One.

The new business venture comes at a crucial time for Unichem as a two-year contract has just been signed between Dispensary First and IHC to provide pharmaceutical services for around 2000 IHC patients nationwide.

Unichem chief executive Tim Roper says the system will be particularly effective where member pharmacies have a large number of rest home or IHC patients.

The process will be similar to photographic D and P. Unichem will purchase the drugs and the product, member pharmacies will provide patient and medication information, robotic dispensing will occur in Auckland, and completed units will be sent back to member pharmacies for distribution to patients.

Pharmacy One owner Greg MacPherson says he is looking forward to working with Unichem members.

"This will create value for the members, reducing the pressure on their pharmacies, and providing patients with an excellent service that has been tried and tested."

Each "robot" machine has the capacity to process 2500 patients. Currently Pharmacy One has 800 patients, but with Unichem on board they expect this to rapidly increase to the maximum 5000.

"We will expand the operation as demand requires, and hope to have six machines in the next three years," says Greg MacPherson.

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