Gwinnett County

This is how UPS gets life-saving drugs to you and your pets...

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Life-saving medications, most recently, the COVID-19 vaccine, and other medicine for humans and pets must be stored, packed and shipped with special care.

Metro Atlanta based UPS plays a big role in the logistics of making sure the medicine gets where it needs to go, to standard quality, and on time.

Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez worked alongside UPS Health employees in Duluth to see how the process works and the challenges this essential business faces.

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He started with training. Employees go through training and testing to be allowed inside the warehouse. Details like learning what kinds of steps, sanitation and security measures are used were also required for the Channel 2 Action News staff before we stepped on the floor.

UPS Healthcare, located off Satellite Boulevard, delivers 200 to 300 pallets of medicine a day. In fact, the company handles regulated medicines in 32 countries for both people and pets.

Austin Ball, distribution manager for UPS Healthcare, told us the largest challenge facing the industry is finding workers.

“You get people, and some come in and they last a couple weeks. Some, come in and they last a few days,” Ball told us.


Ball took Channel 2 Action News through the picking, quality checking, packing, and shipping process with diabetes medication for a dog. Each step is just as important as the next. The process took Estevez from the shelves to the cooler where temperature sensitive product is stored.

Then, after checking its quality, the product is packed appropriately and placed on the truck for delivery.

In this case, the delivery went to Tiger Tails Animal Hospital. Estevez got into the traditional, brown, UPS truck with driver, Blanca.

Blanca told Estevez her favorite part of the job is providing packages to customers on time. The driver, who has been with the company for 22 years, said this particular delivery hit close to home. “I also have a pet with diabetes”, she told Estevez, continuing to say her 8-year-old Boston Terrier, Takito, uses insulin.

Once the truck arrived at Tiger Tails, a friendly staff greeted Estevez. He checked to make sure the correct recipient was listed on the box label and handed it off.

Inside, a chocolate Labrador named River was waiting to receive her shot. Veterinarian Kaala Rawlins told Estevez an accurate, on-time delivery is crucial to operations there.

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Without it, “I would say our entire facility would shut down because that’s our day-to-day thing – preventative care that includes vaccines”, Rawlins explained.

The UPS Healthcare facility in Duluth, Georgia, ships more than 500,000 orders just like River’s each year.