United Parcel Service and CVS have agreed to begin exploring drone deliveries of customer prescriptions. On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration approved UPS’s request to fly drones beyond the operator’s direct line of vision.
The UPS-CVS drone effort comes on the heels of a recent announcement that Walgreens, FedEx, and Alphabet, Google's parent company, are joining forcing to begin drone deliveries in the Christianburg, Va., area.
Managed Care featured drone delivery in its July-August 2019 innovation issue. You can read that story here.
The FAA has been moving toward loosening its rules that stand in the way of widespread use of drones for delivery.
UPS’s Flight Forward, which the shipping company claims is the country’s first fully certified “drone airline,” already operates drones to deliver lab samples in North Carolina. As part of Monday’s announcement, UPS said it will work with the University of Utah Health to ship samples and supplies using drones by year’s end.
Using drones to deliver supplies and lab samples could increase efficiency and reduce costs. But there are several regulatory, privacy, and safety issues that first must be addressed before drone home service is approved. For now, drones will be used for hospital deliveries with secured drop-off location.