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Amazon Drone Delivery Aims to Close ‘Golden Window’ in Medical Treatment

Amazon delivery drone

Amazon Pharmacy has begun offering drone delivery to customers in Texas.

The retail giant announced in a news release Wednesday (Oct. 18) that customers in the town of College Station can now get prescription medications delivered to their doorstep within 60 minutes of ordering.

“We’re taught from the first days of medical school that there is a golden window that matters in clinical medicine,” said 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.”

According to the release, eligible Amazon Pharmacy customers can choose “free drone delivery in less than 60 minutes” at checkout. From there, a pharmacist will make sure medications are loaded and transported to a customer’s home within the next hour.

The launch is happening as Amazon continues what has been described here as a “a multi-year journey toward bringing healthcare more fully online.”

The company purchased PillPack in 2018 and launched Amazon Pharmacy the following year.

Amazon’s RxPass services lets patients who use the pharmacy access generic medications for $5 a month, delivered at no cost.

More recently, Amazon Web Services launched AWS HealthScribe, which uses speech recognition and generative artificial intelligence (AI) to generate clinical documentation.

“There’s already some automation in the mix when managing the costs (to consumers) tied to pharmaceuticals,” PYMNTS wrote, soon after the news that Amazon Pharmacy would begin applying automatic, manufacturer-sponsored coupons to help patients save on insulin and other diabetes care products.

PYMNTS Intelligence has also found an increasing willingness among consumers to use digital tools and platforms to manage health needs, connect with providers and get access to the medications needed and prescribed. For example, nearly two-thirds of Generation Z report using digital health portals.

Meanwhile, consumers seem less enthusiastic about getting deliveries via robot, at least when it comes to food service, according to the exclusive PYMNTS report “Connected Dining: The Robot Will Take Your Order Now.”

“The study revealed that, for the most part, consumers are not on board with the delivery robots that are starting to take over sidewalks and skyways — 71% of those surveyed reported being uninterested in robotics or automated systems delivering food,” PYMNTS wrote in June.