Report: UPS plans to test new service to deliver vaccines in patients' homes

United Parcel Service Inc. is reportedly eyeing a deeper foray into the healthcare business. 

UPS is preparing to test a service in the U.S. later this year that would send nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes, Reuters reported on Thursday. While UPS didn't say which vaccine it would be using in the project, the news organization confirmed with pharma giant Merck that it is looking at participating in the initiative. 

UPS did not immediately respond to request for comment Friday morning.

As Reuters reported, workers would package and ship the vaccine to franchised UPS stores. Then a home health nurse contracted by UPS' clinical trial logistics company Marken would collect the package, transport it to the individual patient and administer the vaccine.

Marken already has a home healthcare offering in which it sends professionals to the home for study drug administration, blood draws, EKGs, clinical assessments of vital signs and patient and caregiver training. It also provides direct to and from patient services for clinical trials. But the reported move by the world's largest package delivery company would potentially expand that work into a much larger market.

It would also be an apparent move to fend off competitors like Amazon, which has sought to build its own delivery model, has entered the drug distribution market with the acquisition of PillPack last year and is also in the midst of building healthcare partnership Haven with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan.

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