The United Parcel Service or UPS, the world’s largest package delivery firm, is getting into the healthcare business, announcing this week that they are preparing to test a service (U.S. only) that dispatches nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes.
Although they did not disclose which vaccines will be available, the Big Pharma giant- and vaccine maker- Merck & Co, is looking to partner with them.
“The project, previously unreported, shows how UPS is targeting a larger slice of the $85 billion outsourced healthcare logistics market. Deutsche Post’s DHL Group dominates the market, which is expected to grow to $105 billion by 2021.
Here is how the test, slated to launch later this year, will operate: Workers in UPS’ 1.7 million-square-foot healthcare complex at Worldport will package and ship the vaccine to one of the more 4,700 franchised U.S. UPS stores. A home health nurse contracted by UPS’ clinical trial logistics unit known as Marken will collect the insulated package, transport it the ‘last mile’ to the patient’s home and administer the vaccine, which will target a viral illness in adults.”1
The parcel delivery industry is currently trying to deal with the impact of the one-two punch that is a cooling economy and rival Amazon (who recently teamed up with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co to lower prescription drug costs for their employees).
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The project will save money by having contract home nurses, as opposed to doctors, give the vaccines but they still have to iron out how to get medical insurers to pay for the service.
“UPS, DHL and specialty shippers have a smattering of home health projects around the world – mostly in countries with single-payer health systems.
DHL, the healthcare logistics leader with annual medical-related revenue of more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), transports U.K. patients from home to non-emergency hospital appointments.
Polar Speed, a U.K. specialty logistics company UPS bought in 2014, has trained and background-checked drivers who enter homes to drop off prescriptions, deliver and install medical refrigerators and infusion pumps, and remove waste such as used syringes and wound dressings.”1
UPS is trying to put more distance between themselves and Amazon “which lacks the specialized warehouse, temperature-controlled shipping and regulatory infrastructure that healthcare companies require.”1 (Amazon even uses UPS and FedEx Corp for PillPack home deliveries.) But only time will tell.