Amazon is now offering customers the option to get medicines delivered to their homes via drone within 60 minutes of their order with Amazon Pharmacy, the retail giant’s online prescription drug store. Here’s everything you need to know…
The service is first being offered to customers in College Station, Texas, where Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery program has been operational since December 2022. And it carries no additional cost. But not everyone is invited to the party.
Before becoming eligible for drone delivery, customers need to onboard with Prime Air and participate in a yard survey. Then, when they place an eligible delivery order, they need to position an Amazon-provided delivery marker at a designated location. When the drone arrives, it will look for this marker. Computer vision will detect any structures or objects protruding from the ground — including people and animals — and check if they are interfering with the descent path.
If the delivery zone is clear, the drone will descend to a height of around four meters and release the package. It will then climb back to cruising height (typically between 40 to 120 meters) and return to the delivery center. Customers can pick up their packages at this time without any interaction with the drone.
Placing a medicine drone delivery order with Amazon
If you’re a College Station resident who’s eligible for Amazon drone deliveries, you should be able to see a “Delivery by Drone” option that promises delivery within 60 minutes. According to Amazon, more than 500 medications that treat common conditions, including flu, asthma, and pneumonia are currently available for drone delivery. Simply opt in for the free service, and a pharmacist will ensure medications are loaded and transported to your home within the next hour.
Do note that you cannot receive a mix of other products sold through Amazon’s online store, like toothpaste or diapers, with your Amazon Pharmacy medication delivery. This is because medicine facilities are separately licensed and maintained, and do not stock non-clinical items.
Since speed and convenience are paramount for health purchases, medications are typically one of the first things customers want to be delivered quickly via drones. And this is why drone delivery from Amazon Pharmacy is an exciting development.
“We’re taught from the first days of medical school that there is a golden window that matters in clinical medicine,” says Dr. Vin Gupta, chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy. “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.”
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