Several operations in industries are now partially or fully automated and pharmacies are no exception. The integration of several different technologies for automating pharmacy operations is a defining trend in the pharmacy automation systems market.
In recent years processes and operations that have been automated include: compound preparation tablet counting dispensing and inventory management medical packaging and prescription management. Many different machines are used for this purpose. Some
of the advantages of pharmacy automation systems include the ability to stock the right quantity of medication at the specified location dispensing the right dosage of medicine and to increase the overall efficiency of a pharmacy while keeping costs low. By application the report segments the pharmacy automation systems market into automated medication dispensing automated storage and retrieval systems automated packaging and labeling tablet-top tablet counter and automated compounding devices.
The automated medication dispensing systems segment represented about 48% of the worldwide market in 2011 owing to the pressing need to prevent medical prescription errors. The segment accounted for US$2.3 bn in revenue in 2011. The automated medication dispensing systems segment will generate revenue to the tune of US$3.6 bn by 2018 reporting a compounded annual growth rate of 6.7% from 2012 to 2018
Error in medication prescription dispensing is a leading cause of death in North America after cancer heart and strokes. About 10000 people die per year in Canada and around 100000 deaths and more than two million injuries are estimated in the U.S due to medication errors. Medication errors also increase the cost for healthcare providers and patients. It is found that about 70% of these medication errors are preventable and healthcare providers along with pharmacists in these regions are investing in automated technologies which enable them to reduce these errors and improve patient safety. North America is the largest regional market for automated dispensing systems followed by Europe and is expected to maintain its position through the forecast period from 2012 to 2018. In developed markets such as Canada the U.S and EU5 countries there is a large potential for replacement market as healthcare providers in these countries are striving for advanced technologies to replace existing pharmacy automation. ”Rest of The World” region represents the fastest growing region in this market and the demand for these technologies is expected to increase with rising awareness and investment in healthcare infrastructure in Middle-East.
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With the presence of a large pool of both international and local players automated dispensing systems demonstrates a high degree of competition between participants. The landscape however is consolidated with CareFusion AmeriSource and Omnicell driving revenues for the most part. These companies together accounted for a share of nearly 50% in this market in 2011.
The increasing consolidation activities and little scope for product differentiation are likely to increase the rivalry between key players in the near future. The significant rise in the pharmacy automation start-up scenario in Asia Pacific and the Middle East is also expected to intensify this competition over the next few years.