Historic drone flight delivers prescription drugs to the Gulf Islands
News staff, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, August 29, 2019 8:58AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 29, 2019 3:14PM PDT
A drone flight connecting Duncan, B.C. and Salt Spring Island could change the way lifesaving medicine is delivered in Canada.
Last week, a partnership between Canada Post, London Drugs and InDro Robotics completed what they say is Canada's first beyond visual line-of-sight drone flight carrying medicine to Salt Spring Island.
The Aug. 19 trial run delivered an Epipen and naloxone from Duncan to the local Country Grocer store on Salt Spring, roughly 17 kilometres from Duncan. The drone also made a delivery to a patient's home.
“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, general manager of pharmacy at 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.”
Data obtained from the trial will be used by Transport Canada to inform regulations on similar flights going forward, according to the company.
As part of the ongoing trials, Canada Post says it 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 InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece.