July 1, 2020 11:50AM

Florida Lifts Restrictions on Pharmacy Kiosks

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law yesterday a bill that allows for the expansion of pharmacy kiosks throughout the state. As I have written here, the technology that enables the ATM‐​like dispensing machines, staffed by live “telepharmacists,” has been around since at least 2014. Unfortunately, the proliferation of pharmacy kiosks has been obstructed by state laws that regulate pharmacies.

Prior to the passage of HB 59, Florida permitted kiosks to operate only in within hospitals, long‐​term care facilities, and prisons. Those restrictions are now lifted, and kiosks are permitted to operate statewide.

Florida now joins 9 other states (California, Arizona, Idaho, Washington, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey) that have minimal restrictions to providing consumers the option of kiosks as an alternative to bricks‐​and‐​mortar pharmacies.

As I have discussed before, in addition to being convenient, kiosks provide pharmacy customers a way to socially distance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also are a way to provide pharmacy services to underserved or remote areas. And they provide a new opportunity to pharmacists who wish to work remotely.

While the Florida legislation was supported by the American Association of Retired Persons, Americans for Prosperity, Walgreen’s Pharmacies, and MedAvail (a kiosk manufacturer), it was opposed by the Florida Pharmacy Association, which represents pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the state.

Hopefully the remaining states and the District of Columbia will soon remove regulations blocking their residents from this not‐​so‐​new technology.