Biomedical vending machines are becoming increasingly common in healthcare settings around the country, the Student Government at the University of California in Santa Barbara are taking Medical vending machines to a higher level. As explained by Nathan Rubbelke, student government leaders at UCSB have approved the purchase of a medical contraceptive vending machine that will dispense condoms, lube, tampons, pregnancy tests, and the morning-after pill, Plan B. However, this action raises a few interesting questions, and students need to understand how this machine will sexual health on campus.
What Triggered the Installation of the Plan B Vending Machine?
College life is hectic, and accessing items for reproductive health can be challenging for students. Although many of these items are accessible through the Health and Wellness program at UCSD, students need a way to access these items on weekends. This medical vending machines will provide access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which is excellent for students who may not be able to access in-office resources do to work or school schedules.
Without the machine, students who have unprotected sex early in the weekend, such as Friday night, would be unable to obtain Plan B from Student Health until Monday. By installing this machine, student government leaders also seek to resolve another problem. On occasion, nearby pharmacies and Planned Parenthood may run out of Plan B, and students need to have access to the contraceptive as soon as possible.
Is This the First Time Plan B Has Been Offered Through a Pharmaceutical Vending Machine?
In 2010, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania installed a similar vending machines with the purpose of dispensing Plan B on campus. Little interest centered around the vending machine for two years, but the Food and Drug Administration began to look into the matter in 2012. Eventually, the FDA declined to take any action on the matter, and the college continued to sell Plan B from the vending machine.
What About Opposition to the Pharmaceutical Vending Machine?
There are opponents to the dispensing of Plan B in a vending machine. In fact, the president of the Anscombe Society at UCSB has expressed severe criticism over the very idea of installing a pharmaceutical vending machine with contraceptive items. While this sentiment emphasizes the group’s focus on maintaining sexual purity, students are already accessing Plan B through other measures, and this vending machine will simplify the needs of UCSB’s students who have been in the situation of finding an after-hours option for contraception.
The face of the pharmaceutical vending machine industry is changing. Once, mild pain relievers, mouthwash, and simple over-the-counter medications were available in vending machines. Now, female students can take a stronger role in ensuring their reproductive health with a medical vending machine, such as those designed by Intelligent Dispensing Solutions, to access over-the-counter Plan B when other means of obtaining the medication are unavailable.