London Drugs trials drone delivery of prescriptions

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

SALT SPRING ISLAND, B.C. – Need an epi-pen, fast? In the near future you might be able to get one delivered by drone.

In August a three-part trial of prescription drug delivery by drone delivered an Epi pen (Epinephrine) and Narcan, leaving London Drugs’ mobile facility in Duncan, B.C. to the local Country Grocer on Salt Spring Island as well as direct, pin-pointed delivery to a patient’s home on Salt Spring Island.

The trials were conducted by Canada Post, in partnership with London Drugs and InDro Robotics, and were Canada’s first-ever Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) flight carrying pharmaceuticals.

Canada Post was selected along with InDro Robotics in 2018 to participate in Transport Canada’s BVLOS Drone Trials. The proposal focused on testing BVLOS capabilities over open water and partnering to test the delivery of prescription medications to remote areas.

“The ability to provide medications to patients in remote areas that would otherwise have to travel hours to obtain pharmacy service is significant in so many ways,” said Chris Chiew, general manager of Pharmacy, London Drugs.

“In the very near future we will be able to provide delivery of prescription medications to an abundance of areas not accessible by vehicle.”

The operational data obtained from the August 19 trials will be used by Transport Canada to help develop BVLOS regulations moving forward in Canada. As part of the ongoing testing, Canada Post is simulating deliveries over bodies of water, icy roads and challenging terrain to temporary camps and other remote locations.

“The delivery of prescription medications by drone to rural areas will be of great advantage to communities across the country including Northern Canada and as well to hospitals in remote communities where drones can land on hospital Heli pads,” said Philip Reece, CEO, InDro Robotics.