Special Issue "Drones for Medicine Delivery and Healthcare Logistics"

A special issue of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Paul Royall
Guest Editor
Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK
Interests: Exploration of the relationship between solid state properties and the performance of pharmaceutical materials and medicines
Dr. Patrick Courtney
Guest Editor
tec-connection, Oberlohnstrasse 3, D78467 Konstanz, Germany
Interests: laboratory robotics; materials logistics in the laboratory; system engineering; technology transfer

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Uncrewed aerial vehicles have the potential for making a huge impact in the area of logistics and transport. Medicines are typically lightweight but are extremely valuable in terms of their impact on the health of global populations, thus making these items a potential focus for the development of drone-based delivery solutions. A number of very good recently published papers have highlighted this potential; however, they have been distributed across a number of disparate journals. To date, there has not been a dedicated Special Issue focusing solely on the use of drones for solving transport problems associated with the delivery of medicines. Thus, we propose to fulfil this unmet need by asking researchers in this area to contribute to a Special Issue entitled “Drones for Medicine Delivery and Healthcare Logistics” to be published in the journal Drones.

The scope of such a publication is very broad and will create a large readership for the included papers. For example, the end users, those who wish to transport medicines to geographically challenging locations, would be very interested in reading the latest developments in the area of drone delivery. These would be academic groups, non-governmental agencies, health authorities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and charities. Such a series of papers would be very useful for those involved in the development of new packaging and those researching and developing new medicines that will eventually come onto the market. Aeronautical engineers and those researching in the area of drone development would be very keen to read and cite these papers as the results and thus, potential specifications published within the Special Issue would go on and influence their up-and-coming designs. Those involved in the regulation of medicines, the governance of air transport and the regulation of airspace would also find such a Special Issue of importance to their work and such a series of publications is likely to influence their approach to regulatory decision making in the future.

The guest editors already have good academic links with the universities of Cranfield, Nottingham, Lancaster, Vienna, EPFL and Latvia where key findings in the area of drone development and delivery applications are being made. This is a firm basis from which the guest editors will reach out to European, African, Asian and American research groups to elicit interest and the submission of their most recent research findings. The guest editors have good links with chief hospital pharmacists, medical practitioners and non-governmental organisations who also have a stake in pushing back the frontiers of what a drone can deliver. Doctors Courtney and Royall also have excellent links and working relationships with drone, logistics and packaging companies such as the Drone Office, Osprey, Skyport, Softbox, Intelsius, SwissPost, DHL, GE aviation, Zipline, Viapath, Novartis, GSK, MSD and Pfizer. The guest editors would also seek to reach out to those researching in the sensing and control systems associated with drones, packaging, stability analysis and those interfacing with the public in terms of medicines use to gain their interest and research papers associated with the drone delivery of medicines. Thus, attracting the required number of high impact papers, the associated reviewers and readership will be achievable in a relatively short space of time.

Dr. Paul Royall
Dr. Patrick Courtney
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Drones is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • medicines drone delivery
  • healthcare logistics
  • UAV for human health
  • medicines quality
  • medicines stability
  • drug packaging
  • medicines compliance

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessReview
The Application of Drones in Healthcare and Health-Related Services in North America: A Scoping Review
Drones 2020, 4(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030030 - 04 Jul 2020
Using drone aircraft to deliver healthcare and other health-related services is a relatively new application of this technology in North America. For health service providers, drones represent a feasible means to increase their efficiency and ability to provide services to individuals, especially those [...] Read more.
Using drone aircraft to deliver healthcare and other health-related services is a relatively new application of this technology in North America. For health service providers, drones represent a feasible means to increase their efficiency and ability to provide services to individuals, especially those in difficult to reach locations. This paper presents the results of a scoping review of the research literature to determine how drones are used for healthcare and health-related services in North America, and how such applications account for human operating and machine design factors. Data were collected from PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, and IEEE Xplore using a block search protocol that combined 13 synonyms for “drone” and eight broad terms capturing healthcare and health-related services. Four-thousand-six-hundred-and-sixty-five documents were retrieved, and following a title, abstract, and full-text screening procedure completed by all authors, 29 documents were retained for analysis through an inductive coding process. Overall, findings indicate that drones may represent a financially feasible means to promote healthcare and health-related service accessibility for those in difficult-to-reach areas; however, further work is required to fully understand the costs to healthcare organizations and the communities they serve. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones for Medicine Delivery and Healthcare Logistics)
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