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Skip the doctor, go to the pharmacy

FDA looking at technology and pharmacists to expand self-diagnosis

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Food and Drug Administration has approved an interactive kiosk that tests blood pressure, eye-sight, body mass index and gives an overall health risk survey.

The product, known as a SoloHealth station, is the latest in the FDA's exploration into expanding self-diagnosis and over-the-counter treatments available at pharmacies.

In March, the FDA held a public hearing to discuss a new paradigm that would allow certain drugs to be available without a prescription if measures were put into place at pharmacies.

Part of what was discussed was the use of innovative kiosks, like the SoloHealth station,  where consumers could self-diagnose certain problems.

The public discussion dealt specifically with the deregulation of medications for asthma, diabetes, and cholesterol. 

As part of the new paradigm, pharmacists could have to confirm a diagnosis with certain blood screenings for cholesterol or liver function.

The owner of a locally run pharmacy said that consultation and monitoring is already part of his job, but did not give any further opinion on the possible paradigm.

An FDA spokesperson said the agency is currently compiling all of the public comment so that if any changes are made that they are mindful of the concerns.

SoloHealth kiosks are already present in hundreds of locations around the nation, including 20 Publix pharmacies in Florida. Three of them are in Kissimee.

Now that the product has been approved, the company said they will be able to aggressively market the kiosks.

A spokesperson for SoloHealth said the product is not intended to replace a doctor's visit, but to help educate people about possible health conditions like obesity and risks of heart disease.  The kiosk also provides  a listing of doctors and phone numbers in the area.