New pharmaceutical vending machine sees high student demand

The vending machine “PharmaBox” was placed in the library to expand students’ access to pharmaceutical goods on the Tampa campus. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

USF could get more vending machines featuring drug store essentials thanks to the popularity of a pilot program.

The Tampa campus library got a new vending machine called PharmaBox, which contains over-the-counter products including contraceptives, feminine hygiene, medications and practical items. It has recently seen a high demand from students, according to Director of Auxiliary Services Nancy Santiago.

The vendor serves the purpose of providing pharmacy items that are accessible to staff and students, especially residential students, according to Santiago.

Though the first monthly sales report is still not confirmed, Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services Mercedes Cesin said five products are currently sold out, including Antacid, two Acetaminophen products, muscle relaxant and electronic device charging equipment.

If the machine, which was installed Sept. 30, continues to see high sales during its three-month pilot period, Cesin said plans to install a second machine at an undisclosed location around campus will move forward.

The machine sits at the main exit of the library, replacing a display case and wall graphic.

The PharmaBox carries affordable name-brand products such as Aleve, Tylenol, Advil, Allegra, Tampax and Benadryl at prices ranging from $3.99 to $12.49, Cesin said.

Students can also purchase emergency contraceptive Plan B pills for $30 and condoms for $5.99 at the machine, Santiago said.

The vending machine is stocked with non-medicinal products as well, including batteries, phone chargers, headphones, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and bandaids, according to Cesin.

Plans for the installation of PharmaBox had been in the works since 2019, but were delayed after the decrease in foot traffic around campus due to the pandemic, according to Santiago.

Students and staff can access the vending machine during library hours of operation, which are listed on the USF Library Homepage as 24 hours Sunday-Thursday, midnight to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.