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Article

An Evaluation of the Delivery of Medicines Using Drones

1
Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK
2
tec-connection, Oberlohnstr 3, D78467 Konstanz, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2019, 3(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3030052
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 27 June 2019
This study tests the impact of drone transportation on the quality of a medicine. Modelling the critical process parameters of drone flight, the effects of temperature and vibration on insulin were investigated using the pharmacopoeia methods. The medicine, Actrapid, (3.5 mg/mL of insulin), was flown by a quad-rotor drone. Insulin stored between −20 and 40 °C for 30 mins, and subjected to vibration (0–40 Hz, 25 °C, 30 mins) passed the pharmacopeia tests. Dynamic light scattering identified the active tetrameric and hexameric forms of insulin post testing. Vibration frequencies during drone flight were between 0.1 and 3.4 Hz. There was no evidence of visible insulin aggregates following the drone transportation. The differences in UV absorbance readings between flown Actrapid and controls were insignificant (p = 0.89). No adverse impact of drone transport on insulin was observed. This study provides supporting evidence that drone transportation of medicinal products containing insulin is feasible. The authors recommend that when considering the drone delivery of medicines five tests need to be applied. These tests must determine the safe flight time and range, the quality of the medicine post flight, the onboard conditions experienced by the medicine, the security of the drone supply chain and the effect of drone failure on both the medicine and the environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: medicine delivery; insulin; quality of medicines; medicine stability; drone delivery; healthcare logistics; quality by design medicine delivery; insulin; quality of medicines; medicine stability; drone delivery; healthcare logistics; quality by design
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hii, M.S.Y.; Courtney, P.; Royall, P.G. An Evaluation of the Delivery of Medicines Using Drones. Drones 2019, 3, 52. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3030052

AMA Style

Hii MSY, Courtney P, Royall PG. An Evaluation of the Delivery of Medicines Using Drones. Drones. 2019; 3(3):52. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3030052

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hii, Michelle S.Y., Patrick Courtney, and Paul G. Royall. 2019. "An Evaluation of the Delivery of Medicines Using Drones" Drones 3, no. 3: 52. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3030052

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