Here comes the drone with its special load — prescriptions. (Submitted)

History made: Drone successfully takes prescription drugs to B.C. island

Drone carried pharmaceuticals from Duncan to Salt Spring Island

  • Aug. 29, 2019 11:08 a.m.

History was made in the Cowichan Valley last week, with the first-ever attempt to carry prescription drugs from Vancouver Island to Salt Spring Island.

The “Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight” flight carried the pharmaceuticals from a London Drugs pharmacy in Duncan to customers on the island.

The flight, a partnership between London Drugs, Canada Post and Salt Spring Island-based InDro Robotics, could herald a revolution in how some things are transported in the country, especially in rural areas.

Canada Post was selected along with InDro Robotics in 2018 to participate in Transport Canada’s drone trial program.

The proposal focused on testing drone capabilities over open water and partnering to test the delivery of prescription medications to remote areas.

ALSO READ: Drone operators subject to age limit, certification under new federal rules

There were three parts to the trial-drone runs on Aug. 19, including delivery of an Epinephrine pen and opioid-reversing nalaxone brand Narcan, leaving London Drugs’ mobile facility in Duncan to the Country Grocer store on Salt Spring Island, as well as direct, pin-pointed delivery to a patient’s home on Salt Spring Island.

“We are proud to have been selected to participate in the first trial of a drone delivery of this kind in Canada,” said Chris Chiew, a spokesman for London Drugs.

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

ALSO READ: NASA’s first-of-its-kind tests look to manage drones in cities

The operational data obtained from the trials will be used by Transport Canada to inform 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 of InDro Robotics.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Build a new pool or fix the old? Port Hardy mayor wades in

‘… whatever we do going forward we want the support of the community’

Fear and ignorance have spiked racism in the province: B.C’s human rights commissioner

Kasari Govender has been virtually interacting with citizens in remote, rural areas to address concerns of discrimination

COVID-19 tests come back negative in remote First Nation community

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Most Read