Convenience stores dispense prescription drugs

Consumers in Japan can, for the first time, pick up their prescription drugs at convenience stores.

The stores are teaming up with pharmacies to offer the new service.

It comes after an easing of regulations that allow pharmacists to give usage instructions by phone or online. Previously, they could only do this in person.

FamilyMart began dispensing prescription medicine at more than 2,000 of its convenience stores in Tokyo last month. Customers receive the guidance online from the chain's partner pharmacy. They can also choose which branch their drugs will be delivered to and the pickup time.

Seven-Eleven Japan is testing the use of lockers at some of its stores near Tokyo.

Officials at the retail chains expect to see a growing number of customers getting their medicine at branches near their homes or workplaces.