Boots completes UK drone delivery of prescription drugs first

Boots has become the first community pharmacy in the UK to transport prescription-only medicines by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – commonly known as drones.

A leading health and beauty retailer, Boots has already conducted a test flight carrying prescription drugs by drone from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.

The flight departed from British Army Baker Barracks on Thorney Island near Portsmouth and arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight. The drugs have been collected by Boots and transported to its pharmacies across the island, where they will be distributed to patients with prescriptions for them.

Boots has worked with medical drone start-up, Apian, to facilitate the test flight and is currently evaluating the future potential of drones in drug delivery.

“Drones have huge potential in the delivery of medicines and it’s incredibly exciting to be the first community pharmacy in the UK to transport them in this way,” said Rich Corbridge, Chief Information Officer at Boots. “An island location like the Isle of Wight seemed like a good place to start a trial of drones and their value for delivering medicine to more remote locations is very clear.

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

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