California-based Volansi, Inc., a developer in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services, launches Commercial Drone Delivery Program to show the value of drone delivery as part of the Medical Supply Chain in rural North Carolina. This means that drone technology will support quick and flexible delivery of “cold chain” medicines that are sensitive to temperature and thereby expand access to medical care.
Cold chain medicines require temperature control, such as some vaccines, glaucoma eye drops, 0insulin for diabetes treatment, etc. Assisting rural communities in getting access to these medicines has been a challenge for providers. This is especially true at a time when the entire world is waiting for a COVID-19 vaccines, some of which will be sensitive to temperature.
Volansi’s drone system will make it possible to deliver routine medicines from the Merck manufacturing facility to patients at Vidant Healthplex-Wilson, North Carolina, a Vidant Health clinic. This will be the first phase of a project to learn about drone technology and how it is, and can be, used in the healthcare supply chain.
Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi, stated:
“We’ve seen the world’s supply chain strained like never before from the impact of Coronavirus. There’s now an accelerated need for rapid advancements in supply chain technology, especially in healthcare. Drone delivery is one solution to getting critical supplies where they are needed, at the moment they are needed most.”*
Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Management, Merck, Craig Kennedy, made the following comment:
“As a healthcare leader, Merck is very supportive of collaborations using new technologies to explore how one day we could help better serve the healthcare community. Our existing distribution system is strong, and this pilot helps us explore new innovative delivery options that would complement our existing supply chain capabilities.”*
Brian Floyd, Chief Operating Officer, Vidant, pointed out:
“At Vidant Health, innovation and collaboration help us increase access to care and meet our mission to improve health and well-being across eastern North Carolina. This project with Merck and Volansi is the beginning of an exciting endeavor to explore additional ways we can meet the unique needs of those we serve.”*
Volansi’s project is part of the Federal Aviation Associations’ (FAA’s) Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program (IPP), partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
According to a Volansi press release: “Volansi will seek additional approval from the FAA to provide deliveries in additional locations, for phases two and three of the project, enabling a flexible, on-demand, and responsive supply of critical medicines.”*
The project’s first flights were successful and they were the first drone delivery of temperature-controlled medicines within the U.S.
As a major player in drone delivery, Volansi is engaged in drone delivery not only in healthcare, but also in mid-range drone delivery for commercial applications, as well as work for the Department of Defense, etc.
Volansi’s launch of Commercial Drone Delivery Program to show the value of drone delivery as part of the Medical Supply Chain in rural North Carolina has now expanded into Oregon as well. With the challenge of vaccinating people for the COVID-19 virus, such advances in rapid and flexible delivery of cold chain medicines is vital. Such expansion of access to medical care is — and will be — saving scores of peoples’ lives!