While many products can help low-income people address health concerns, there are often barriers to the distribution system. In addition to cost, there is a stigma attached to buying certain products, stores aren’t easily accessible or may not be open during the hours of need.

To eliminate these hurdles and get public health items into neighborhoods, Shaffer Distributing Co. is modifying ordinary vending machines to dispense a variety of “harm-reduction” products including fentanyl testing strips, HIV testing kits, safe sex kits, and prescription drug disposal bags. Once they receive government approval, they will also distribute Narcan and Naxalone, the opioid overdose treatment drugs.

These modified machines are currently located in places with round-the-clock access such as public libraries, post offices, college campuses, police stations, and city halls. This affords the user privacy and the ability to access free products that prevent a health issue from worsening or could even save lives.

If you feel like your organization is facing barriers that prevent you from reaching your audience, take a fresh look at your dilemma through the lens of Shaffer Distributing, a traditional arcade game equipment supplier that morphed some of its inventory into health-supply vending. Instead of being thwarted by tradition, maybe there is an adaptation of another method that will allow you to reach your targets and provide what they need in a different manner.

Source: Life-saving drugs in a vending machine by Marty Turner, Director of Vending Sales, Shaffer Distributing in Insider Q & A in the Telegraph Herald, May 14, 2023, p. 22A

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