UPS Flight Forward, CVS Pharmacy to Develop Drone Delivery Applications

ATLANTA, Oct. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

  • UPS and CVS Health have signed an agreement to explore drone delivery options
  • UPS expanding drone delivery operation beyond healthcare campuses

UPS (NYSE:UPS) subsidiary UPS Flight Forward Inc. (UPSFF) and CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS.N) subsidiary CVS Pharmacy, Inc. today announced they have agreed to develop a variety of drone delivery use cases, including business-to-consumer operating models.

The program will include delivery of prescriptions and retail products to the homes of CVS Pharmacy customers from its retail stores, in addition to other potential use cases from its other business units.  UPSFF is the only company approved to operate a Drone Airline by the FAA under a Part 135 Standard approval granted on September 27, 2019. 

UPS Flight Forward, which already delivers medical samples by drone at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, NC, is rapidly building out its ground and air infrastructure to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. UPS Flight Forward plans to deliver packages to consumers at their homes in the near future.

“As the country’s first fully-certified drone airline, UPS Flight Forward is rapidly building a robust customer base and a network of technology partners to galvanize our leadership in drone delivery,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “We will create new logistics and delivery solutions no one has ever considered. Previous industry thinking had been limited to only ground transportation technology. Now we’re thinking in three dimensions.”

“We’re always looking to improve convenience for customers through faster, lower-cost and more efficient delivery models,” said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy. “Given our focus on innovation, we’re excited to be the first retail health care company to explore drone delivery options with UPS.”

UPS Flight Forward announced this month that it has received the U.S. government’s first full Part 135 Standard certification to operate a drone airline. The certification is the highest level the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants a drone delivery company. It permits the company to fly as many drones supported by as many operators as necessary to meet customer demand.  

The company has completed more than 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries at the WakeMed campus since March 2019. 

UPS Flight Forward plans, in the future, to transport other items in many industries, and future tests together with CVS represent the first foray into retail business expansion for the UPS subsidiary.

UPS Flight Forward started by contributing to tests within the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP). That work centered on the business model for drone delivery on healthcare campuses. The company expects its residential delivery tests also will contribute to the regulatory framework in the future.

UPS has established itself as a leader in unmanned aerial vehicle delivery. The company has tested drones for urgent commercial deliveries over water; funded and supported humanitarian deliveries in Africa; and tested non-urgent commercial residential delivery in rural areas with drones launched from a UPS package delivery car.

About UPS      

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. UPS was awarded America’s Best Customer Service company for Shipping and Delivery services by Newsweek magazine; Forbes Most Valuable Brand in Transportation; and top rankings on the JUST 100 list for social responsibility, the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, among other prestigious rankings and awards. The company can be found on the web at or and its corporate blog can be found at The company’s sustainability eNewsletter, UPS Horizons, can be found at To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_News on Twitter. To ship with UPS, visit

About CVS

CVS Health is the nation’s premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at