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Pharmacy Floats Drone-Based Delivery Concept for Viagra

Delivery drone in warehouse

A successful trial has given rise to a potential new delivery system for Viagra.

An online pharmacy in the UK is planning to deliver the popular erectile dysfunction medication by drone. However, pharmacists question whether the unmanned delivery is best for patient safety.

MedExpress recently tested the drone-based delivery method on emergency contraceptive and was “very pleased with how the trial went.” The so-called morning after pill was successfully delivered in Kent, England, under controlled conditions.

MedExpress managing director Dwayne D’Souza was quoted by several UK news organizations as saying: “We’re considering making drone delivery part of our future service and are in talks to work out how we can do this. We’re confident our customers will love the idea.”

D’Souza told UK media that the deliveries would be especially useful for people living in remote areas who may be unable to visit a pharmacy often. Whether MedExpress will get regulatory approval for its drone delivery remains up in the air.

Drone Delivery Doesn’t Fly With All Pharmacists

Pharmacists have expressed concerns about drone-based delivery of medications.

“It needs to be safe for individuals who are accessing those medicines to make sure they get the right one,” pharmacist Neal Patel told UK news company The Sun.

Medical professionals stress the importance of Viagra users knowing how the drug works and its potential side effects.

“In our view it is better for people to access a local community pharmacy and have a face-to-face conversation with a pharmacist where they can get proper advice,” Patel said.

Viagra Side Effects

Commonly referred to as “the little blue pill,” Viagra (sildenafil) can help a man with erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection when sexually aroused or stimulated. Although there is an upside to the drug, Viagra can also cause serious side effects.

Serious Side Effects Linked to Viagra Include:

  • Melanoma (skin cancer)
  • Erection that will not go away (priapism)
  • Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Sudden hearing decrease or hearing loss
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Death

Viagra’s manufacturer, Pfizer, estimates doctors have prescribed the drug to more than 35 million men across the globe. Many users have sued Pfizer alleging Viagra caused complications, including melanoma, heart attack, vision loss and stroke.

Potential for Drone-Based Delivery in U.S.

MedExpress may find some competition in Amazon, which has been developing its own drone-based delivery system, Prime Air.

Although the online retailer is not currently in the pharmacy business, CNBC reported that Amazon discusses the opportunity annually. Amazon reportedly began hiring for its “professional health care program” and recently started selling medical supplies and equipment in the U.S.

Amazon Prime Air is meant to deliver packages up to 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.

“We have Prime Air development centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, France and Israel,” Amazon wrote on its website. “We are currently permitted to operate during daylight hours when there are low winds and good visibility, but not in rain, snow or icy conditions.”

Last modified: August 31, 2017

Author

Emily Miller holds five Health Literacy certificates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Florida. She was diagnosed with a chronic illness as a child and has firsthand experience with many of the topics she writes about as a member of the Drugwatch team. Emily is an award-winning journalist who has reported on health and legal news for reputable organizations, including the South Florida Sun Sentinel, San Antonio Express-News, UF Health News and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She draws on her background as both a patient and a journalist to help readers understand complex health and legal topics.


Hide Sources

  1. Amazon.com. (n.d.). Amazon Prime Air. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-Air/b?node=8037720011
  2. Farr, C. (2017, May 16). Amazon is hiring people to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/16/amazon-selling-drugs-pharamaceuticals.html
  3. Tanner, C. (2017, August 29). Online pharmacy is planning to use drones to deliver the morning-after pill and Viagra in the UK (and purchase details will be blacked out to ensure discretion). Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4832414/Viagra-morning-pill-delivered-DRONE.html
  4. Morley, K. (2017, August 29). Drones could spell the end of the pharmacy 'walk of shame'. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/29/drones-could-spell-end-pharmacy-walk-shame/
  5. Downey, A. (2017, August 29). Special Delivery Viagra and the morning after pill could soon be delivered by drone…but is it a good idea? Retrieved from https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/4344905/viagra-and-the-morning-after-pill-could-soon-be-delivered-by-drone-but-is-it-a-good-idea/
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