Amazon announced today that it is launching drone deliveries of medicines purchased through Amazon Pharmacy, its online prescription drug store. The company added that packages “will be dropped by drone within 60 minutes of being ordered via Amazon Pharmacy. The first city for the service will be College Station, Texas”. Also worth noting is the fact that “Amazon Pharmacy currently covers around 500 medications, including those for flu, asthma and pneumonia; and (for now) the drone service will be free to use”. This is obviously done so that more and more people try out the drone service and get used to it so that Amazon can cash-in on it later on but make hay while the sun shines as they say.
Dr. Vin Gupta, chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy, in a statement, said “We’re taught from the first days of medical school that there is a golden window that matters in clinical medicine”. “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. Whether it’s an infectious disease or respiratory illness, early intervention can be critical to improving patient outcomes.”
The company also reports that its operation in College Station is based around a pharmacy it opened in the town to lay the groundwork for the drone delivery service: The medications are overseen by a pharmacist onsite and then loaded on the drone located immediately outside the pharmacy. This also points to is an interesting opportunity down the line: Amazon working with other pharmacies, not owned by Amazon, offering similar drone delivery services to them.
Looking at Amazon’s point-of-view, we know that drone deliveries make a lot of sense because traditional deliveries via air and then via trucks will take a lot of time but the most they do is affect the environment as well as cost a lot of money because of the labor costs attached to it. This means that if deliveries are done from drones then it is faster, easier, cheaper and better overall if done correctly.