Prescription Drug Vending Machine Makes Illinois Debut (VIDEO)

09/13/2011 11:20 am ET | Updated Nov 13, 2011

A suburban Chicago hospital will be the first in the state to host a new vending machine that offers 24-hour access to prescription drugs.

The vending machine, developed by Minneapolis-based InstyMeds, is stocked with drugs commonly used in emergency rooms, the Associated Press reports. ER doctors enter prescription information electronically and the machine determines the patients' insurance information, including co-pays. Payments can be made with a debit or credit card and medications are dispensed automatically.

The new InstyMeds distribution service at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island adds Illinois to a list of 30 states already using the service, NBC Chicago reports.

The service is intended to help patients get their medication as soon as they're released from the ER, without having to search for a pharmacy at all hours, ABC7 reports.

See coverage of Iowa's first InstyMeds in August: