Drone Delivered Drugs for the First Time in Canada
From：Taiwan Trade Center, Toronto
A century after the first piece of regular mail was delivered by airplane, Canada Post and London Drugs are partnering to conduct a pilot program of using drones as a new method of prescription drug delivery to get much-needed medications to remote patients who may not live near pharmacies.
The pharmaceutical retailer in co-operation with Canada Post and robotics company InDro Robotics launched a tiny test flight on Aug. 19. The drone had no trouble lifting and delivering the weight of an EpiPen loaded with epinephrine and a naloxone kit, which included medication used to reverse the potentially deadly effects of an opioid overdose. According to London Drugs, the drone flew the six kilometers from Duncan to Salt Spring Island in 11 minutes. In another trial, the drone successfully delivered its load to the Country Grocer on Salt Spring Island, directly to a would-be patient's home.
The test flight was the first beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight that had delivered drugs in Canada. Chris Chiew, the general manager of pharmacy for London Drugs was initially surprised that drone-delivered drugs had never been tried before but later understood that there exist rigorous Transport Canada regulations governing this type of flight, with no human pilot to deal with unforeseen circumstances. In fact, a special license is required for BVLOS flight as the person piloting the drone could not actually see it.
This service is not yet available to customers but Chiew said except for narcotics, other drugs like blood pressure medications or emergency opioid reversal medications could be made available this way.
Once this service gets online, drones may see a demand surge in the Canadian market.