What is Pharmacy Automation and Why Should Pharmacies Care?

Pharmacy automation has expanded in to different categories that increase efficiency and accuracy since the 1980s. Since around the 1980s, pharmacists have used early forms of pharmacy automation such as, digital tablet counters, to lower risk and labor costs for pharmacists. However, these techniques have been expensive and therefore inaccessible to independent pharmacists. Now, these automation machines have become cheaper and user friendly. Certain tasks performed in pharmacies are time consuming and prone to human error. Pharmacy automation accurately and efficiently performs these tasks, so patients can get their correct medications faster. 

What is Pharmacy Automation?

RxSafe 1800 pharmacy automation system

Pharmacy automation is the electronic process of distributing, sorting, packaging, and counting prescription medications. Pharmacy automation has many different purposes, including improving efficiency, minimizing labor costs, and improving accuracy. When pharmacy automation first became popular, pill counting was one of the only techniques. Now, there are many more accessible automation machines, including: 

  • Dispensing Medications: 

Dispensing medications is a large problem for pharmacies because it holds the potential for many errors and contaminants. The RxSafe and the RxVault provide automatic storage and retrieval. They also have machines that dispense the medications into convenient packages, including blister packs and strip packaging.

  • Syncing Records: 

By using the dispensing machines, pharmacists are able to sync and keep track of the patients medications, without having to manually input them. The RxSafe and the RxVault also offer RxCloudAnalytics that track inventory, forecast demand, and provide cloud based access to those reports.

  • Regulation Compliance:

RxSafe technology automatically and accurately tracks all drugs in the pharmacy down to the pill or package by product lot number, expiration date, national drug code (NDC), and a serial number. While greatly enhancing pharmacy efficiency, this level of inventory tracking gets your pharmacy ready to read Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) bar codes now since this data satisfies serialization by the unique product identifier.

A Brief History of Pharmacy Automation

Pharmacy Automation all began with the first portable and digital pill counter. Invented somewhere between 1967 and 1970 by John and Frank Kirby, the digital pill counter completely changed and benefited pharmaceuticals. After that, several advances were created to improve the speed and accuracy of pill counters. The next major innovation wouldn’t take place until around 2008. This innovation created a new feature of dispensing and packaging medications after counting them. Since 2008, there has been vast progress in the storage, tracking, and dispensing automation machines.

Why Should Pharmacies Care about Automation?

Pharmacy Automation provides several benefits to pharmacy owners including increased accuracy and speed, better space savings, better narcotics security, and improved inventory management. 

Accuracy and speed:
  • RxSafe’s proprietary software verifies you have access to the right bottle.
  • When the bottle is returned to the system it’s weighed to ensure accurate counts.
  • User mistakes are tracked.
  • Slow moving inventory is flagged.
  • No more overstocking or wasted inventory.
  • Automatically tracks and logs all CII activity.
Space savings:
  • Store up to 5,400 stock bottles in 40 square feet of space.
  • Gain more floor space to generate additional income.
  • Avoid remodeling expense.
  • Valuable space can be reclaimed, and used for consulting, vaccination, compounding, compliance packaging, counting technology
Narcotics security:
  • Store stock bottles behind locked doors.
  • Force workflow at one station without the added expense of other software or hardware.
  • Our proprietary software ensures that you have access to the right bottle.
  • When the bottle is returned to the system, it’s weighed to insure accurate counts.
  • User mistakes are tracked and slow-moving inventory is flagged.
  • No more overstocking or wasted inventory.
Inventory management:
  • Track your inventory in real time, so you know what and when to reorder.
  • No disappearing inventory.
  • No opening a second bottle.
  • No waste due to expiration.
  • Remote stock management is another standard feature of the RxSafe system.
  • All pharmacy inventory is managed by the system whether it’s inside or outside the RxSafe.
  • No more headaches keeping track of inventory in different locations.

Even if you aren’t a pharmacy owner, pharmacy automation affects you, since it will be handling the medications you take. As a consumer, this is a positive innovation, it ensures you get the right medication and the right amount, at the right time.

Related Automation Products

If you are a pharmacy owner and would like to improve your efficiency, call (877) 434-4503 now to speak with an adherence automation expert, or check out these products:

  • RapidPakRx: Adherence Strip Packager for any Retail Pharmacy With Universal Cartridges & Built-in Vision Inspection.
  • BlistAssist: Blister Card Packaging Assistant that Improves the Manual Process for any Retail Pharmacy.
  • Eyecon 9420: Revolutionary Tabletop Automation: Prescription Validation, Counting and Filling System.
  • RxSafe 1800 w/ AWS: Comprehensive, Automated Robotic Storage and Retrieval for Retail Pharmacies.
  • RxVault 1800 w/ AWS: The Only Truly Automated Robotic Storage and Retrieval Solution for Narcotics and High Shrink Drugs.


RxSafe improves patient health by partnering with the nation’s 21,000 independent retail pharmacies, using our technology solutions to transform the way you do business. We collaborate with pharmacies and other industry innovators to enable patient adherence, attract new customers, create additional revenue streams, and boost profitability. Learn more: www.rxsafe.com.