The center installed a 2,000-pound machine that dispenses prescription drugs in its lobby. The vending machine has no window to display its wares, but is stocked with generic bottles of ibuprofen, antibiotics, cough syrup and other medications for temporary conditions.
Patients at the center -- which provides non-emergency outpatient treatment to all comers, insured or not, in an effort to relieve pressure on local emergency rooms -- have been hesitant to use the machine since it was installed last year, administrator Al Moreno told the Pasadena Sun.
"People don't understand the concept," Moreno said. "It's a soda machine for prescriptions."
One flaw is that the machine is not programmed to process insured claims, so covered customers can't get the same discounts they would at a pharmacy counter. Moreno said the city could not afford the option that would allow the machine to accept purchases covered by insurance.