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Boots delivers medicines to Isle of Wight via drone test flight


Boots delivers medicines to Isle of Wight via drone test flight

Boots delivered medicines by drone from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight in a test flight in July, making it the first UK community pharmacy to transport prescriptions by uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In a statement last Wednesday (July 27), the multiple said the medicines were flown from the British Army’s Baker Barracks on Thorney Island to St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight.

They were then collected by Boots and transported to its branches on the island to be dispensed to local patients.

The multiple, which worked with medical drone start up Apian on the test flight, said it is “now assessing the future potential for drones in medical delivery”. 

The electric UAVs, which can carry up to 20kg of payload, are based at the Thorney Island barracks and St Mary’s Hospital’s helipad, and will be flown by professional drone pilots.

Boots chief information officer Rich Corbridge said: “Drones have a huge potential in the delivery of medicines and it is incredibly exciting to be the first community pharmacy in the UK to transport them in this way.

“An island location like the Isle of Wight seemed like a sensible place to start a trial of drones and their value to the delivery of medicines to more remote locations is very clear.

“In this trial, we will be looking at how much time we can save, as well as how we can incorporate drones into our medicines supply chain to create economic efficiencies too. We want to prepare now for the wider use of this technology in the future.”

Apian chief operating officer Max Coppin commented: “Not only can drones deliver medicine to hospitals but we are particularly excited about our partnership with Boots as it demonstrates drones can also help bring care closer to communities.

“While faster and more reliable than ground transportation they bring with them additional environmental benefits and offer a more sustainable solution for delivery.”

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