A pharmacy in Shandong province is presently testing the robotic pharmacist “Little Joe”, whose educational level is said to be equivalent to a pharmacist with 10 years of experience. Little Joe” can diagnose a patient through consultation and give advice on medication. The robot will make recommendations based on such interview and the properties of the drug, and the patient can directly buy drugs by mobile payment such as WeChat. Robotic pharmacists are expected to play a role in lowering pharmacy costs and improving pharmacy service professionalism. In China, a pharmacy’s average net profit is only 5 to 7%, of which the manpower cost has the highest share, twice the rent. According to statistics, there are 480,000 pharmacies throughout the country, and half of them are unable to provide professional pharmacists services because they do not have enough talent pools to provide accurate advice for patients. The drugs provided by the pharmacist robot are non-prescription medicines only. For prescription medicines, according to regulations, hospital doctors are required to confirm the sale.”

China Bio news release, March 26, 2018