Canadian healthcare firm PharmaTrust calls for help in dispenser drive

The Canadian healthcare firm behind a controversial pharmacy dispensing machine has hired its first UK PR agency.

Proposed dispensers: PharmaTrust
Proposed dispensers: PharmaTrust

PharmaTrust has turned to Kreab Gavin Anderson for a media relations and public affairs brief, with the focus on promoting its MedCentre technology.

The MedCentre is an integrated dispensing and medication management system. To work the machine, the patient touches the screen, inserts a prescription, picks up the phone and then begins speaking with the pharmacist, who appears on screen via two-way video technology.

After pharmacist counselling, payment is processed and the medication is dispensed.

PharmaTrust is to commence trials of its MedCentre dispensing technology in the UK later this year.

Initially, the machines will be in five hospitals, but the firm hopes to eventually have them on high streets across the UK.

Their arrival in Britain has been supported by the Department of Health, but media coverage of the technology has focused on resistance from high-street pharmacists.

National Pharmacy Association director of communications Nicola Rossi told PRWeek: ‘Remote pharmacy dispensing might have a place in hospitals, especially to support emergency supply out of hours. But it could never be an adequate substitute for the local community pharmacy, where a range of services are available beyond dispensing.’

The PharmaTrust team will be led by Kreab Gavin Anderson deputy managing partner Deborah Walter. She said: ‘Part of our brief will be to speak to the Department of Health to see if we can change the legislation to allow MedCentre machines on the high street.’

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