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

T’Sou-ke First Nation mired in legal woes over gas station development

Claims and counterclaims leave sub-contractors unpaid

West Shore grieves loss of a ‘bright light’

Scott Manning was a well-known principal, friend and community member

Quadriplegic Saanich man seeks continuity of home care from Island Health

Island Health took over home care services in November

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

GUEST COMMENT: Chamber clears up a few misconceptions

‘We are committed to continually improving the chamber,’ says president

Most Read