Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami has announced that the government is looking to install 32 self-service medical kiosks in the state.

The kiosks will dispense drugs, just like an ATM machine based on the QR code found on the prescription.

The government has come up with the scheme in order to reportedly reduce queues outside the pharmacies and increase efficiency of medicine dispensation for ailments such as tuberculosis, diabetes and hypertension.

According to reports, a QR code in the prescription will be used to identify the drugs to be dispensed.

The installation of these kiosks is estimated at Rs 80 lakh. 23 of the kiosks will be set up at government medical college hospital and urban primary health centres in cities including Chennai.

This is however not the first time the state government has planned to launch ATMs in the state to dispense drugs. In 2018, officials in the health department outlined a similar plan.

Former health secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan had said, "The biggest advantage is that it allows us to keep track of patients with chronic ailments. Patients who need long-term therapy are asked to meet their doctors once every three months. The hospitals give them drugs for one month and ask them to come back for supplies for the next two months. The third time, they meet the doctor."

Currently, Tamil Nadu boasts of the largest treatment program in the country, with lakhs of residents receiving drugs for diabetes and blood pressure, free of cost.

The government believes that the ability to track drug users can also help ensure they do not drop out of treatment, especially in cases of tuberculosis, where uninterrupted medication is crucial.