Drone delivery of prescription medicines begins in USA

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UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) and CVS Pharmacy have successfully completed two revenue-generating drone deliveries for medical prescriptions from a CVS pharmacy directly to consumers’ homes.

The flights, which took place on November 1 in Cary, North Carolina, used the M2 drone system by Matternet. For the final delivery, the drone hovered about 20ft over the properties and slowly lowered the packages by a cable and a winch to the ground.

The deliveries mark another milestone in a recently announced collaboration between UPS and CVS to develop a variety of drone delivery use cases, including business-to-consumer operating models.

“This drone delivery, the first of its kind in the industry, demonstrates what’s possible for our customers who can’t easily make it into our stores,” said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy.

“CVS is exploring many types of delivery options for urban, suburban and rural markets. We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times cannot conveniently access one of our stores.”

UPSFF was the first company approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration to operate a drone airline under a Part 135 Standard certification. The certification permits the company to collect payment for drone deliveries and to fly as many drones supported by as many operators as necessary to meet customer demand.

“We now have an opportunity to offer different drone delivery solutions, tailored to meet customer needs for speed and convenience,” added Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer.

UPSFF and Matternet have completed more than 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, since launching service there in March 2019.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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