The Future of the Independent Pharmacy is now, and it’s more real than you think…
Hovering 20 feet above ground, drones hardly surprise anyone these days. You’ve probably seen stunning aerial footage of canyons, music festivals and city skylines captured and delivered by these camera-equipped, so-called “phantoms of the sky”. Today, drones are on a silent mission to expand our future.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, as we know them, have clearly ushered a brand new technology that will only continue to grow. By 2018 the Federal Aviation Administration predicts some 7500 small commercial drones will be present in the United States alone. While still in its infancy, commercial drone operation is limited and requires special approval from the Federal Government.
To date, only a handful of businesses in agriculture, real estate and cinematography have been granted approvals to fly UAVs commercially. A few healthcare companies are on that list too, including a pop-up health clinic in rural Virginia that experimented with the very first government-approved medicine drone delivery just last month! Watch this video:
Drones can carry small deliveries fast
According to a drone-delivery startup Flirtey, an average robot can carry up to 5.5 lbs as far as 20 miles before the battery runs out, making it perfect for dispatching pharmacy items that are small and easy to transport short distances from your store. Since drones aren’t dependent on street traffic, and can fly at roughly 31 mph, they can quickly deliver medicine straight to your patient’s home.
Commercial drones are safe
There are several built-in safety features that contribute to flight safety and help drones navigate with confidence. GPS-autopilot and “position-hold” functions keep an aircraft in the same place in the sky, even during strong winds. Redundant controllers with multiple rotors will prevent the whole system from crashing, even if one one of the motors fails. To continue improving flight security, many manufactures have introduced automatic configuration that returns a drone to the take-off point if its flight control receiver loses contact with the pilot’s transmitter, or if the flight battery voltage drops below a user-selected threshold value.
Unmanned Vehicles are affordable and easy to use
UAV technology is quickly becoming less expensive and more powerful as more startups enter drone-manufacturing field and continue to introduce new and improved models to the market. Built around Android and iOS, most aircrafts can be easily controlled via a tablet, cutting out the middle-man and third-party implementation support.
Drones are eco-friendly
There is a green side to every drone — even as a fleet they produce zero emissions and run on clean electric power! Not only that, researchers across the globe have put the unmanned vehicles to a variety of eco-friendly jobs: from keeping tabs on great white sharks, to monitoring melting Arctic ice and alleviating smoke pollution in some areas of China.
Prescription home-delivery by air will give your pharmacy a competitive edge
Is your pharmacy located in a busy neighborhood? Do your customers have trouble getting to your store before it closes at night? Drones can deliver prescribed medications straight to your customer’s door. Just imagine what this could mean for sick patients who don’t want to leave the house when they aren’t feeling well.
Local pharmacies are agile and will be able to offer air delivery to their communities long before the larger chain stores are able to implement. As an independent pharmacy owner, you can offer customers yet another avenue of convenience and great customer service, by adding such an option.
Look outside your window – what do you see? There is a whole new, untapped space above – the space that will help expand your reach and help you serve even more customers. We encourage you to think outside the box, dream big and discover new possibilities for helping your patients. And, medicine delivery by drones might be the answer.