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UK First Drone Flight Sees Medicines Delivered To The Isle Of Wight

The Isle of Wight has welcomed its first drone flight delivering prescription medicines.

In a UK First, Boots has successfully delivered prescriptions from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight via uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) - or drones as they are more commonly known.

The flight departed from the British Army's Baker Barracks on Thorney Island near Portsmouth and arrived at St. Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight.

The medicines were then collected by Boots and transported to their various pharmacies across the island.

A test flight earlier this month made Boots the first community pharmacy in the UK to transport such goods by drone.

The high street pharmacy is now assessing the potential for using drones for more consistent delivery.

Rich Corbridge, Chief Information Officer at Boots, said:

“Drones have 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.” 

Medical drone start up Apian helped facilitate the flight.

The company is working with the NHS to deliver supplies across the Solent and is trialling drone flights with the aim to speed up delivery and access to chemotherapy for cancer patients.

Max Coppin, Chief Operating Officer at Apian, said:

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

The airspace used for the flight was subject to permission from the Civil Aviation Authority.

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