Drone medical prescription delivery could be around the corner

Zipline, a drone operator and logistics company, plans to partner with Magellan Health’s pharmacy unit to deliver medical prescriptions to homes in Charlotte, North Carolina this year, helping kickstart the era delivery of “routine” drones. This delivery system could provide on-demand delivery, reduce vehicle traffic (and emissions), and improve safety, while helping the environment. Zipline hopes to launch the service after completing a trial in Kannapolis, North Carolina, where the company has a distribution center serving local hospitals.

In places like Australia, Finland and Africa, drones routinely deliver medicine and food, but in the United States the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed the rules governing use and safety. drones in our crowded skies. With companies like Zipline and others testing these deliveries under FAA approval, drone delivery will likely accelerate in the coming years. To highlight the drone delivery capability, in Logan, Australia, approximately 140,000 drone deliveries have been made by Wing in that city alone. In the United States, in Christiansburg, Virginia, Wing has made more than 21,000 deliveries of coffee, food and other items in partnership with local retailers and Walgreens. Last month, the most popular delivery item was home COVID testing.

Preceding Zipline’s delivery of medical prescriptions by drone in North Carolina, Zipline recently launched a pilot drone delivery program with Walmart in Pea Ridge, Arkansas for packages weighing less than four pounds. Zipline also plans to open another distribution center in Salt Lake City soon.

These drone medical deliveries could greatly help people with chronic conditions, who could receive their medications much more quickly and easily, in addition to hopefully reducing emergency room visits or other costly procedures. Drones could help the United States reduce the overall cost of health care by increasing access and efficiency.

In addition to Zipline’s expansion plans this year, Wing plans to launch its Walgreens delivery service in Dallas, Texas also this year. With drone delivery in a crowded metropolitan city like Dallas, this could pave the way for widespread expansion of drone delivery across the country.

Copyright © 2022 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 34

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