UPS Flight Forward, CVS to use drones to deliver medicines to Florida retirement community

UPS has announced that starting in May, its subsidiary UPS Flight Forward and CVS will use drones to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages, Florida, which is the largest U.S. retirement community, home to more than 135,000 residents.

Utilizing Matternet’s M2 drone system, the service will operate under the FAA’s Part 107 rules, with authority to operate through the Coronavirus pandemic and explore ongoing needs as they arise after that period. The operation could expand to include deliveries from two more CVS pharmacies in the area.

During the first flights, which are expected to be less than one half mile, deliveries will be made to a location near the retirement community. To start, a ground vehicle will complete the delivery to the resident’s door.

“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,” says Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer.

“UPS is committed to playing its part in fighting the spread of Coronavirus, and this is another way we can support our healthcare customers and individuals with innovative solutions.”

In 2019, UPS and CVS announced plans to jointly explore using drones to make deliveries. In Nov. 2019, they successfully completed their first drone deliveries of medical prescriptions from a CVS pharmacy in Cary, North Carolina.

“Now more than ever, it’s important that our customers have access to their prescriptions,” says Jon Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer of 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.”