Remote Drug Dispensing Machines Are Coming to Your Neighbourhood

Remote Drug Dispensing Machines Are Coming to Your Neighbourhood

As more Canadians are getting older and living longer, our society must be innovative in making changes to our daily living routines so that there are more conveniences, safety and speed in obtaining our bare necessities.

Ontario will be rolling out remote dispensing machines across the province, which will fill out prescriptions in real-time consultations with offsite pharmacists using two-way video monitoring.

The dispensing drug machines provide safety and convenience with 24/7 access to pharmacy services across the province. This is very convenient for Ontarians who live in remote and rural communities because they would not need to travel far to get their prescription medications.

The remote dispensing machine works like an ATM (automated teller machine). The main difference is that there is real time interaction between you and the Ontario-registered pharmacist via a two-way video monitoring within the machine.

Besides cash, snacks, candies, tickets and drugs, what are the next items to be dispensed from a machine closer to home?

Will the next items be groceries and basic household items such as bread, milk, eggs, cheese, tofu, vegetables, fruits, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.?

Please note that for reasons of safety, narcotics will not be available through remote drug dispensing machines.

Ontario, Canada

News Release

March 18, 2011 11:30 AM

Making It Easier For Ontarians To Fill Prescriptions

March 18, 2011

McGuinty Government Supports Innovative Model For Drug Dispensing

Ontario is making it more convenient for people to get their prescriptions filled by allowing drug dispensing machines to rollout across the province.

Remote dispensing machines will provide safe, convenient and 24/7 access to pharmacy services across the province.  This will be especially helpful to Ontarians living in remote and rural communities.

Using this technology, patients interact with an Ontario-registered pharmacist who remotely dispenses the prescription from the machine. The experience mimics an in-person visit to the pharmacy since:

  • Patients consult in real-time with an offsite pharmacist using two-way video monitoring within the machine;
  • Patients insert the prescription into the machine where it is scanned and validated by the pharmacist; and
  • The pharmacist authorizes and supervises the machine as it dispenses the drug once the prescription is verified.

PharmaTrust, an Oakville-based company, is leading the way by creating and building these innovative automated pharmacy systems. The PharmaTrust machines are being sold throughout the world.

Today’s announcement is part of the government’s Open Ontario Plan to support innovative technology, while providing more access to health care services and improving quality and accountability for patients.


“Remote dispensing makes it more convenient for people – especially those in northern and rural areas – to get the medications they need, when they need it. It’s also a tremendous opportunity to move forward with Ontario-made technologies that better serve pharmacy customers while also being safe and cost effective.”

– Deb Matthews
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“PharmaTrust is thrilled to provide made-in Ontario technology that allows patients fast, convenient and safe access to their drug prescriptions and ensures complete pharmacist control over the dispensing process. This meets both the patients’ needs and our health care professionals’ responsibilities to deliver the highest level of care.”

– Don Waugh
PharmaTrust Chairman, PCAS (Patient Care Automation Services)

“The remote dispensing machine provides my patients with access to a pharmacist 24/7. I’ve found through my own experience as well, that the machines are easy to use and very convenient. It’s nice to know that patients don’t have to worry about getting to a pharmacy before it closes.”

– Lynn Haslam
Advanced Practice Nurse, Holland MSK Program


  • Through a pilot project that began in June 2008, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has two operating dispensing machines that use made-in-Ontario technology.
  • Pharmacy technicians, when supervised by a pharmacist, can fill a prescription when they are connected remotely to a patient.
  • Narcotics will not be available through remote dispensing.
  • The Ontario College of Pharmacists is responsible for accrediting, monitoring and enforcing the requirements for all pharmacies including these new types of drug dispensing systems, subject to government approval.


  • For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline
    (Toll-free in Ontario only)
  • Neala Barton
    Minister’s Office

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

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