By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — There is new technology being used across the country to help in the fight against the misuse of opioids that continues to kill hundreds of people every year.

It’s a seven-foot, $400,000 robot that is now being tested out in San Joaquin County.

It’s helping the pharmacy care for more people as it brings families in San Joaquin County, peace of mind.

Pharmacy technicians in Stockton are calling it the pharmacy of the future. It’s a robot with green and blue containers filled with hundreds of pills. It’s called the Omnicell VBM 200 F, a machine that accurately fills and checks a patient’s prescribed medications without any worry for human error.

“It is here to help dispense as many medications for anybody that is in need especially patients that are taking six plus medications a day. This helps alleviate having them to open up all of their pill bottles,” said Jeannie Duckworth, regional long-term care sales director, BJRX.

The machine, pharmacists say is a new tool that can be used to help with the on-going fight against the country’s opioid epidemic.

“We put them in a single dose packing with similar to the one that this machine does, and we monitor alongside with the doctor to make sure the patient is not getting too many and following exactly what the doctor wants. We don’t want anyone having any overdoses,” she said.

The machine is capable of producing 500 patient blister cards within a 24-hour period. A card contains the medicine on one side with the picture of the drug on the other. For now, technicians are taking it slow.

“Right now, we’re doing at least 150 packs per day; before we used to do less than 100 packs,” said Pratap Anne, pharmacy director.

The new Ominicell is allowing pharmacists to focus on patients and their needs and giving them the opportunity to work closer with doctors.

“With this machine, each and every drug has their own verified code that solves the problem, that is specific to the number, so there is no point of error when it comes out of the machine,” he said.
The pharmacy is expecting a second machine, but smaller. It will be placed at a skilled nursing facility.

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