An apparatus and method for selectively dispensing articles is disclosed. The apparatus is especially suited for dispensing pills in hospitals and nursing homes, wherein stringent controls are needed to prevent mistakes in dispensing or misuse of prescribed pills. The apparatus comprises a plurality of magazines or cassettes, each magazine containing a number of doses of a particular pill prescribed for the patient. The pill magazines are locked so that the pills cannot be removed without insertion into the dispensing apparatus, with the dispensing apparatus being operable only by authorized personnel. The magazines contain a plurality of rotatable compartments for storing several days supply of the particular pill, each compartment containing the unit dose prescribed for the particular patient. As is often the case in hospitals and at nursing homes, where a patient is to take more than one pill at a particular time, a plurality of magazines are inserted into the dispensing apparatus, and then the dispenser is activated to dispense from the magazines those pills required at that time. In addition, it is contemplated that various magazines can only be activated at particular times in the day so that a pill cannot be dispensed except at the times prescribed for the patient.