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Prescription drone delivery to begin in Michigan in 2024

The University of Michigan is planning to deploy a drone-based home delivery service to bring prescriptions to patients in Michigan beginning in 2024.
Credit: Getty Images

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan is partnering with a drone delivery company to provide pharmacy to home automated delivery of prescriptions to patients.

Michigan Medicine has partnered with Zipline, a company that uses autonomous electric drones to make deliveries to rural, suburban and urban areas.

The new partnership will provide home delivery of prescriptions to patients in Washtenaw County beginning in 2024.

Zipline claims that their drones can deliver a package 10 miles away in 10 minutes, a speedier delivery than by car.

Michigan Medicine hopes to more than double the amount of prescriptions it fills each year in the county.

Drone delivery is part of Michigan Medicine's plans to expand its specialty and mail order pharmacy program at their specialty care pharmacy in Dexter, which is slated to open later in 2023.

“By deploying Zipline we are able to make deliveries faster than ever before, saving time for both patients and our medical workers, enabling faster, affordable pharmacy care that leads to better patient outcomes,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the University of Michigan Medical School and executive vice president of medical affairs for the University of Michigan.

”We are always looking for innovative, sustainable improvements to serve our patients. We’re thrilled to soon provide the next frontier of care to our patients with Zipline.”  

Michigan Medicine is one of the first organizations to use Zipline's automated drone delivery service.

Zipline says the drones can function 24 hours a day and can fly in almost any weather. They boast 40 million commercial miles flown on more than 540,000 deliveries completed by their autonomous drones.

“Together with Michigan Medicine we are improving the health care experience by bringing prescriptions and medical needs right to patients’ doorsteps. With Zipline, getting prescriptions will be faster, more convenient and more sustainable than ever before,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, CEO and co-founder of Zipline.  

As of now, there are no announcements about expanding the service to other parts of the state.

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