Healthcare Product Delivery – Via Drones

Sept. 20, 2019 – Walgreens announced a partnership to pilot drone deliveries beginning in October to local customers in Christiansburg, Virginia.

Walgreens and Wing Aviation LLC, a drone operator certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year, will begin offering drone delivery service to eligible residents of Christiansburg, Virginia beginning next month, according to a release. The companies will utilize the pilot program to further explore the future of health and wellness product and retail delivery through the air, offering product availability and home delivery minutes after placing orders via the Wing app.

“Walgreens continues to explore partnerships to transform and modernize our customer experience and we are proud to be the first retailer in the U.S. to offer an on-demand commercial drone delivery option with Wing,” said Vish Sankaran, chief innovation officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. “With a customer-led focus, we continue to create differentiated shopping experiences that provide the products and services consumers need wherever, whenever and however they may want them. This is the kind of omni-channel partnership and offering that can redefine convenience for our customers and communities – delivering items to homes in minutes, not hours or days.”

Why Christiansburg? The market was selected because Wing has been working closely with nearby Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to test drone delivery as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program since 2016.


How It Will Work

Eligible customers in the Christiansburg area will have access to more than 100 products and six convenient “packs” via the Wing app. Customers can either choose the individual products they need or choose one of the pre-built packs in the following categories: allergy, baby, cough/cold, first aid, pain, and kids’ snacks.

Prescription deliveries are not available via this service, the release said.

The drone delivery option meets use cases where customers may want health and wellness or food and beverage items immediately, but leaving home is not ideal. For example:

  • Parents at home with a sick child can order the “baby pack” with items such as children’s ibuprofen, water and more to nurse their little one back to health while never having to leave their side.
  • Those with a common cold or flu can avoid spreading germs to others by ordering the “cough/cold pack” with a variety of cough and cold products needed to get healthy.
  • No car? No problem. Walgreens now delivers what you need, when you want it, direct to your door via the Wing app.

Over the coming weeks, Wing and Walgreens will be reaching out to Christiansburg residents to provide additional information about the new offering. The companies will also be hosting a drone delivery demonstration for community members later this month.