Seniors Can Now Receive their Prescriptions via Drone Delivery

Residents of a retirement community in Florida will be part of a pilot program testing same-day medicine deliveries utilizing drones.

May 11, 2020

(Es sarawuth / Shutterstock.com)

In light of the current global health crisis, senior citizens have been told to shelter in place and practice social distancing as strictly as they can. Many elderly people depend on prescription medications that until recently, needed to be picked up in person at a pharmacy. Healthcare providers and tech companies have been brainstorming solutions that will enable seniors to get their medication without risking a trip to a crowded pharmacy. And some great news is on the horizon!

In early May, UPS’s Flight Forward branch and CVS pharmacy announced an exciting collaborative venture, in which medicines can be delivered to senior citizens safely at home via drones. The pilot program, set to launch May 4, is operating in central Florida’s “The Villages” retirement community which is the largest such community in the US. The 135,000 residents of the community will be able to receive same-day orders from their local CVS, much to their delight

Flight Forward will use Matternet M2 drones, which were designed to carry medical supplies and samples, making the aircraft a perfect fit for the program. The M2 can hold up to 4.5 pounds of cargo for a maximum distance of 25 miles. 

According to UPS, the first wave of flights will total slightly less than a half a mile, with prescriptions from one local CVS to be flown to a pickup point near The Villages. A delivery truck will take the medications from the pickup point to residents’ homes, leaving the packages safely on their doorsteps. If all goes well, the program could expand to other CVS pharmacies near the community

“Our new drone delivery service will help CVS provide safe and efficient deliveries of medicines to this large retirement community, enabling residents to receive medications without leaving their homes,” said UPS’ Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price in a statement. “UPS is committed to playing its part in fighting COVID-19, and this is another way we can support our healthcare customers and individuals with innovative solutions.”

"Now more than ever, it's important that our customers have access to their prescriptions," adds Jon Roberts, Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice President at CVS Health. "In addition to our in-store pickup, free delivery services, and drive-through pickup, this drone delivery service provides an innovative method to reach some of our customers."

For many of us with older loved ones, this news comes as a welcome relief. Our parents and grandparents looked out for us when we were growing up. Now it’s our job to protect them, and through a team effort between tech and medicine, we will be able to provide them the prescriptions they need while they stay safely at home.

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LAUREN MARCUS, CONTRIBUTOR
Fascinated by storytelling since childhood, Lauren is passionate about the written word. She’s a freelance writer who has covered everything from the latest developments in tech to geopolitics. When she’s not writing, Lauren is interested in genealogical research and family folklore.