Boots airlifts prescription medicines to Isle of Wight from Thorney Island

Boots has become the first community pharmacy in the UK to deliver prescription medicines by drone.

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:39 pm

The retailer shipped medicines from Thorney Island, to the Isle of Wight.

It said that using the technology speeded up delivery times while being more environmentally friendly compared with traditional transportation to the island, which involves a ferry and a road vehicle.

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Undated handout photo issued by Boots of a drone used by the company to transport prescription-only medicines making it the first community pharmacy in the UK to do so. Picture: Boots/PA Wire

Boots said the first drone flew from the British Army’s Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, near Emsworth, and arrived at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport on the Isle of Wight on July 4.

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

It is hoped that using drone technology will one day enable doctors to make same-day delivery orders for drugs and medical equipment from anywhere in the country.

Boots said it is now assessing the feasibility of using drones for deliveries.

It is working with medical transportation company Apian to facilitate the shipments.

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 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.’

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.’