Amazon’s pharmacy business is launching drone delivery of prescription medications in College Station, Texas, ahead of an eventual launch in other cities across the U.S.
Medications will be dropped outside customer doors within 60 minutes of placing their orders at “no additional cost,” Amazon Pharmacy said in announcing the new drone delivery Wednesday. College Station is one of the locations where Amazon’s Prime Air already operates. Delivery of medications via Prime Air drone will “expand to additional cities in the coming years,” Amazon said.
“Eligible Amazon Pharmacy customers can select ‘free drone delivery in less than 60 minutes’ at checkout,” Amazon said in its announcement. “A pharmacist will then ensure medications are loaded and transported to a customer’s home within the next hour. College Station residents selecting drone delivery will have access to more than 500 medications that treat common conditions, including flu, asthma, and pneumonia.”
Amazon isn’t the first retail pharmacy to experiment with drone delivery of prescriptions. Rivals including Walgreens, CVS Health and Walmart have already launched drone delivery of prescription drugs.
It’s part of the latest effort by retail pharmacies to increase medication adherence and offer healthcare services in the right place, at the right time and in the right amount. Even when consumers have drug coverage, studies show at least one in three customers who are prescribed medications don’t pick them up, don’t take them appropriately or don’t take them at all.
Amazon executives see drone delivery as a way to improve patient health outcomes.
“We’re taught from the first days of medical school that there is a golden window that matters in clinical medicine,” Amazon Pharmacy chief medical officer Dr. Vin Gupta said. “That’s the time between when a patient feels unwell and when they’re able to get treatment.”
“We’re working hard at Amazon to dramatically narrow the golden window from diagnosis to treatment, and drone delivery marks a significant step forward,” Gupta added. “Whether it’s an infectious disease or respiratory illness, early intervention can be critical to improving patient outcomes.”