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Medco's Willingboro Automated Pharmacy: 500 Million Prescriptions and Counting
Date:4/1/2011

"Achieving 500 million prescriptions is an important milestone, but what is even more impressive is the quality:  over the 500 million prescriptions dispensed, the pharmacy achieved a parts per million (PPM) error rate of 0.236, meaning that there was less than 1 error for every 4 million prescriptions dispensed.  That is more than 14 times better than six sigma, which is 3.4 PPM," said Barry Cesanek, RPh, Vice President of Professional Practice at the Willingboro Pharmacy. "This achievement can be attributed to the dedication of the more than 1,200 employees in Willingboro who constantly drive toward practical perfection."

Opened in August 2001, the Willingboro pharmacy – as well as Medco's two other fully automated pharmacies in Las Vegas and Whitestown, Ind. – use a proprietary, sophisticated computer system called the Pharmacy Automated Controller (PAC) to control all activities at the pharmacies.  The PAC customized server code contains more than 16,000 functions, more than 2,000 files and more than 1.7 million lines of code.

The Willingboro pharmacy uses more than 2.6 miles of conveyor to expedite prescriptions through its automated system including labeling, filling and packaging functions. The tablet and capsule dispensing process can produce over 10,000 bottles per hour. The bottles and caps are specially designed for Medco automated pharmacies, and contain features that make them safe for children, but also easier for older persons to grip and open. The carton dispensing system is capable of labeling, consolidating and packaging more than 1,200 prescriptions per hour for more than 250 different medications. The pharmacy prints customized literature packages for each prescription with the ability to print more than 1,024 pages per minute. 

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