Intermountain to deliver prescriptions with drones in Salt Lake City area

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Drugs by drone? It’s the future for the Salt Lake City area thanks to a new partnership.

Intermountain Healthcare, the state’s largest healthcare system, is launching a first-of-its-kind partnership with Zipline, an instant logistics company, to deliver prescriptions and medical supplies to patients throughout Salt Lake City. Organizers expect the operation to grow in the coming years with hundreds of deliveries each day to about 90% of patient homes in the region.

Initially, the two companies say they will deliver specialty pharmaceuticals and homecare products to patient homes within a 50-mile radius of the Salt Lake City area distribution center. Over time, Intermountain Healthcare plans to expand the range of medications and products to include prescriptions and over-the-counter items.

Zipline’s delivery service features a fleet of small, fixed-wing autonomous aircraft that can travel long distances in most weather conditions. The drones can then “safely, gently, and quietly parachute packages to an area about the size of several parking spaces.”

Below is a photo of a package parachuting from a Zipline aircraft.

Zipline’s aircraft are entirely electric, thereby reducing traffic and carbon emissions.

Construction will begin in early 2022 with plans to begin deliveries by midyear. Currently, Zipline is operating in Ghana and Rwanda with plans to launch soon in Japan and Nigeria. In five years of operations, Ziplines has reported over 200,000 commercial deliveries.

Other companies like Kroger, Amazon, and Walmart are also launching drone delivery services.

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