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Some Charlotte Novant Health patients can now have their prescriptions delivered by a drone

A Zipline drone dropping off a package

Some Novant Health patients are now able to receive special deliveries to their homes using drones.

During the pandemic, Novant Health collaborated with drone delivery company Zipline to deliver personal protective equipment and medical supplies. Now the two are expanding that partnership to deliver medications to eligible patients in the Charlotte area.

The pilot program is starting with patients at the Novant Health Specialty Pharmacy in Charlotte's University City. Some of the common prescriptions they fill treat cancer, HIV and high cholesterol.

For now, the drones can only deliver to patients who live within about a 30-mile radius from its home base in Kannapolis.

Even though there are still many restrictions on who can use the service, Novant Health’s Brittany Meilinger is hopeful about drone delivery’s potential for expanding access to health care.

"Often times [patients] have sort of complex diagnoses. And they’re dealing with lots of different things trying to manage their care," she said. "And so being able to give them an opportunity to have their medication delivered at a time that is convenient to them and not have to worry about missing a delivery or a delivery not coming — that helps to expand the access."

Novant is picking up the tab for deliveries, making the service free for patients.

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