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UPS drone fleet expands services to CVS and others

a medical professional opening a UPS dron epackage
Medical supplies delivery via UPS drone. Photo: UPS

UPS announced Monday that it's expanding drone-delivery services to include CVS Pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente, wholesale pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen and the University of Utah health system.

The state of play: UPS is hitting the health care business on all sides, from patients to providers and suppliers — all of whom would value faster deliveries on lab testing, prescriptions and medical supplies.

Details: Earlier this month, UPS received Federal Aviation Administration's approval to operate a commercial drone fleet that will carry small metal boxes. UPS expects to see these expansions through by Q4 of this year.

  • For CVS, the drones will carry prescriptions and retail products from stores to customers' homes.
  • At the University of Utah's WakeMed, they would transport health care supplies, medical instruments and documents.
  • Kaiser Permanente plans to use UPS' drones to deliver supplies between buildings at several medical campuses.
  • AmerisourceBergen will use them to transport pharmaceuticals, supplies and records to qualifying medical campuses.

What to watch: It's still uncertain how many drones this will involve. Overall, UPS expects the unmanned aircrafts to cut down a 30-minute truck drive to 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Go deeper: UPS receives approval to fly commercial drones