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Sweden launches first medicine vending machine

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11:36 CEST+02:00
A grocery store near Gothenburg in western Sweden has started selling prescription free medicines via a vending machine.

The shop in Grebbestad is the first in the country to offer the service, writes the local Bohusläningen newspaper.

Customers just need their bank card and identity number to purchase the medicines in a move that is likey to become more popluar since the laws on the purchase of prescription-free medicines were relaxed.

Customers make their choice on a touch-screen, from which they can also access advice on health problems and various products.

“This is its biggest advantage,” said store owner Eva Dennerlöv–Gunnarsson to Bohusläningen.

“We are not allowed to give advice or even answer questions about medicines because we do not have the right education, but here the customer can get the same information that they would from a pharmacist.”

She also points out that customers can be more discreet with their purchases from a vending machine and save time by not having to stand in long queues.

When stocks are low in the machine it sends an electronic message to a supplier, who can then come and refill it, while customers can still buy other medical products manually in the shop itself.

In the long run it may be possible even for prescription medicines to be distributed in this way, thanks to the newly relaxed regulations in Sweden.

The Swedish pharmaceutical monopoly was abolished in 2009, with the first competitors to Apoteket opening their doors for business in January 2010.

There are now four dominant market actors - Apoteket, Medstop, Apotek hjärtat and Kronans Droghandel.

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