Drugstore drones: UPS will fly CVS prescriptions to US customers

Published: October 22, 2019
Email
A UPS drone makes a Flight Forward medical delivery on WakeMed Health & Hospitals' main campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, US in an undated photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

A UPS drone makes a Flight Forward medical delivery on WakeMed Health & Hospitals' main campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, US in an undated photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES: United Parcel Service’s new Flight Forward drone unit will soon start home prescription delivery from CVS Health Corp.

The service, which will debut in one or two US cities in the coming weeks, shows how the parcel delivery company plans to expand its upstart drone business beyond hospital campuses.

“Flight Forward will work with new customers in other industries to design additional solutions for a wide array of last-mile and urgent delivery challenges,” UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price said.

Uber makes JFK airport helicopter taxis available to all users

The Atlanta-based company this month won the US government’s first approval to operate a drone airline, leapfrogging rivals like Amazon and Alphabet’s Google Wing and clearing the way for the expansion of Flight Forward.

UPS, which owns 251 jet aircraft and charters nearly 300 more, is building its Flight Forward business at a time when US drone delivery is in its infancy. Regulations for operating those unmanned vehicles in US airspace are not expected until 2021.

On Monday, Flight Forward and partner Matternet also announced a deal to deliver biological samples and other cargo on University of Utah Health hospital campuses. That will be similar to the service at North Carolina’s WakeMed Hospital, where Flight Forward operates about 10 flights per day, said Bala Ganesh, vice president of the advanced technology group at UPS.

Google completes first drone delivery in the US

Flight Forward has also signed a hospital campus deal with healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, UPS said.

In addition, the company said pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen will use Flight Forward drones to move pharmaceuticals, supplies and records to select US medical campuses it serves.

UPS rival FedEx last week delivered a residential package to a home in Christiansburg, Virginia, as part of a trial service with Alphabet’s Wing Aviation.

Dan Gagnon, vice president of global healthcare strategy at UPS, said Flight Forward “is not a one and done business model. We’re looking for scale and repetition.”

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Technology