The Villages in Florida is one of the United State’s largest retirement communities with more than 135,000 residents. This large and condensed group of people are also some of the most vulnerable to serious health complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 and other diseases. And because they live in close quarters, they are also the most at risk of contracting the disease from community transmission. This community also relies more heavily on outside services such as home healthcare and pharmacies, putting them, and their caretakers, at further risk of contracting the disease.

This is why UPS Flight Forward and CVS Health Corporation, in cooperation with the FAA, have announced that they will be delivering prescription medications via drone to The Villages starting in early May. By providing residents with touchless prescription delivery, they are able to protect the community and those who serve it by enabling physical distancing. 

“Now more than ever, it’s important that our customers have access to their prescriptions,” said 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.”

UPS’ partnership with CVS started last year and they have since completed their first successful drone deliveries of medical prescriptions from their test pharmacy in Cary, North Carolina.

Utilizing Matternet’s M2 drone system, the service will provide The Villages' residents same-day delivery of time-sensitive medications. For the first flights, the M2 will fly less than a half mile to a dedicated spot near the community and, from there, the medications will be delivered by ground vehicle to the resident’s door. The hope is to expand the operations to two additional CVS pharmacies in the area to further help the community.

“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,” said 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.”