IN a pioneering step that falls in line with the Kingdom’s vision 2030 to develop the society and boost the national economy, Nahdi Medical Company, Saudi Arabia’s pioneer in the health care sector, launched the first smart pharmacy. The pharmacy uses a smart robot to efficiently and accurately prepare and dispense medications, monitor drug safety and expiry dates, and manage stocks. This helps reduce drug preparation time and, consequently customers’ waiting time, as medications can be dispensed within 6 seconds per item.
As a vital player in the Saudi pharmaceutical industry, Nahdi Medical Company has taken it upon itself to continue developing the sector. The smart pharmacy will help ensure that drug qualities, quantities, and storage methods are well maintained, minimizing the risk of drug misuse and greatly reducing the drug dispensing process through advanced technologies. The smart pharmacy follows the Traceability Code, through which it can read drug data and also identify any drugs withdrawn by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority through accurate reading of barcodes and serial numbers.
“Al Nahdi has been working to improve health services in line with the wise leadership’s Vision 2030, which, in its health-related part, calls for providing high quality healthcare that meets the requirements and ambitions of the Saudi citizens,” said Nahdi Medical Company CEO Eng. Yasser Joharji. “We launch effective initiatives to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030, keeping pace with the changes through a clear strategy linking planning to implementation.”
The smart pharmacy operates on a technical system where the pharmacist orders the dispensing of drugs through its Point of Sale (POS) machines. The robot prepares the drugs by means of an electronic arm to reach the exchange points. The pharmacist can also modify (add or delete) the list of drugs required and the robot brings whatever is available. Each product must have a long expiry date and be used in a healthy way.
“We believe that this technical functionality is extremely important, but it cannot eliminate the role of humans in running the work,” Joharji explained. “We recognize the importance of the human pharmacist, who is indispensable because the basic function of the pharmacist is to deal with patients, so we stress that the pharmacist will always remain there to help the patient while the manual work is completed by the robot to reduce time.”
Robotics make sure that no expired drugs are in stock, draw attention to any drug shortages through inventory monitoring, and arrange drugs without human intervention. The robot operates even outside working hours.
As the leading pharmaceutical company in Saudi Arabia, Nahdi Medical Company encourages public health in the community. Through its initiatives, it seeks to make a quantum leap in the healthcare sector to help build capacity, efficiency, and productivity and increase options.
“We will monitor the work of the smart pharmacy to continuously develop its services and meet the needs of patients. We will also train pharmacists on smart pharmacy operations so that they learn how to deal with the robot. This will enable us in the future to increase the number of pharmacies and further develop this industry in the Kingdom”, Joharji noted.