CVS and UPS Are Looking to Deliver Medicines Via Delivery Drones
Wed, April 21, 2021

CVS and UPS Are Looking to Deliver Medicines Via Delivery Drones

Drone companies can tap into the healthcare industry to earn the public's support. /Photo Credit: Andy Dean Photography (via Shutterstock)


Drones are now delivering your food, but what if you see them bring you your medication? Such is the case of drugstore CVS. CVS is exploring drone delivery in partnership with UPS, as reported by Matt McFarland of American news channel CNN Business. Earlier this October, UPS received a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate to conduct limited drone deliveries.  

In a brief statement made by CVS, the drugstore said that customers, especially those from rural areas, would value fast delivery. Drone companies can win the support of the public by focusing their business ventures on health care. However, there are going to be regulatory hurdles to overcome before drone deliveries become mainstream. 

CVS and UPS have not stated “when or where deliveries will begin, or how many will be made.”  CVS’s rival, Walgreens, also rolled out a small drone delivery service in Christianburg, Virginia. Walgreens relies on drone delivery firm Wings, a company operated by Google’s parent company Alphabet. CVS’s delivery drones will be fully automated. The drones will also fly on pre-planned routes. They will carry parcels weighing up to five pounds and “leave them on a household’s front or backyard.” For safety’s sake, a human may supervise and take over the flight. Bala Ganesh, who leads the UPS advanced technology group, said that deliveries will only take five to 10 minutes. 

He told CNN Business, “This is a quantum leap in terms of what's possible. Speed can make the difference between life and death.” Since UPS places emphasis on healthcare on its drone delivery program, it approached CVS and expressed its interest to work together. According to UPS, it has made 1,100 medical sample deliveries at a hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of a government pilot program. 

Along with drone company Matternet, Drone deliveries conducted by UPS will also expand to a Utah hospital in the coming weeks. Notably, drone deliveries are also popular overseas with Silicon Valley startup Zipline making 20,000 deliveries of medical supplies to Ghana and Rwanda.