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

Off-duty Burnaby officer helps apprehend Cache Creek car thief fleeing towards Clinton

‘This is just one example of how we are always ready to respond to emergencies’

Savona athletes bring bronze medals back from BC Winter Games

Akira Susanj and Alexander Teague both competed in Karate events

Drag races returning to Campbell Hill for Graffiti Days weekend

Four events are planned at the dragstrip starting in May

Historic Hat Creek set new visitor record during 2019 season

Heritage site looking to build on last year’s success in 2020

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read