UPS Collaborates With AmerisourceBergen to Transport Medical Products Via Drone at Multiple U.S. Hospital Systems

October 21, 2019

ATLANTA - UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced its latest drone logistics partnership with wholesale pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen, a leading global healthcare solutions provider. The collaboration will deploy the UPS Flight Forward drone airline to transport certain pharmaceuticals, supplies and records to qualifying medical campuses served by AmerisourceBergen across the United States, and then expand its use to other sites of care.

This marks a major milestone for unmanned aviation in the United States. Currently, AmerisourceBergen utilizes courier vehicles to transport the majority of medical products from its distribution centers to health systems, community practices, independent pharmacies and alternative care settings. The addition of drone transportation provides an option for aerial delivery via UPS Flight Forward drone services enabling the ability to avoid roadway delays, increase medical distribution efficiency, lower costs and improve the patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits.

“We’re proud to introduce this groundbreaking drone logistics service to AmerisourceBergen’s distribution network,” says David Abney, UPS chairman and chief executive officer. “Efficient, timely delivery of critical medicines is paramount when patient health is at stake, and drone services can make a big difference when delivery time is a critical factor.”

AmerisourceBergen operates distribution services that rely on prompt daily deliveries to ensure that crucial medications efficiently and reliably reach their destination every day. More than 1,500 pharmaceutical manufacturers and tens of thousands of healthcare providers rely on AmerisourceBergen to help patients access the medications they need, when they need them. The company distributes medicines to 95 percent of hospitals across the country through a network of 27 distribution centers.

“Patient-centered care is at the core of our business,” says Steve Collis, Chairman, president and chief executive officer at AmerisourceBergen. “This partnership gives us tremendous flexibility in meeting patient needs with emerging technology that will improve supply chain efficiencies in unique and innovative ways.  Working with UPS to deliver innovation to our customers is consistent with our commitment to help solve challenges facing healthcare providers.”

The collaboration with AmerisourceBergen marks the latest expansion of UPS drone flights in support of healthcare logistics. In March, UPS and drone-manufacturer Matternet announced the first FAA-sanctioned use of a drone for routine flights under a contractual delivery agreement. UPS was granted permission in October by the FAA to operate commercial drone flights through its new business unit, UPS Flight Forward, Inc. This allows commercial drone flights beyond an operator’s visual line of sight and is an important distinction as UPS continues to build out its drone operations. UPS expects to rapidly scale the hospital campus drone delivery solution and to expand UPS Flight Forward services to other customer use-cases.

Enhancing the UPS Global Smart Logistics Network to support hospitals and other healthcare organizations remains a key element of the company’s transformation strategy. Healthcare and life science logistics is a priority segment for UPS, and the company continues to build new relationships and technologies to deliver better patient care with streamlined logistics and supply chain.

About UPS Healthcare
UPS provides global supply chain solutions and expertise to pharmaceutical, biopharma and medical device companies. UPS has approximately 8 million square feet of cGMP- or cGDP-compliant healthcare distribution space. UPS also maintains one of the world’s largest networks of field stocking locations with approximately 900 sites. For parcels requiring strict temperature environments, from CRT to cryogenic, and those requiring around-the-clock monitoring, UPS has solutions such as UPS Temperature True™ and UPS Proactive Response™ services. UPS is committed to expanding its healthcare capabilities including recent acquisitions of Marken, CEMELOG and Poltraf, to meet the complex and evolving supply chain needs of the healthcare and life science sectors. Visit ups.com/healthcare.

About AmerisourceBergen
AmerisourceBergen provides pharmaceutical products, value-driving services and business solutions that improve access to care. Tens of thousands of healthcare providers, veterinary practices and livestock producers trust us as their partner in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Global manufacturers depend on us for services that drive commercial success for their products. Through our daily work—and powered by our 21,000 associates—we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. AmerisourceBergen is ranked #10 on the Fortune 500, with more than $160 billion in annual revenue. The company is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa. and has a presence in 50+ countries. Learn more at investor.amerisourcebergen.com.