Some Virginia residents attending a free health fair last week received a special delivery – their medications came via drone. The health fair is held for three days each summer in central Appalachia’s Wise County, VA, and this year the Virginia Board of Pharmacy worked with several entities, including Mountain Care Center, a free clinic pharmacy affiliated with the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, to have drones deliver medications to patients at the fair, reports Caroline Juran, executive director of the Board.
The Board approved the program under section 54.1-3307.2(A) of the Virginia Code, which allows approval of an innovative pilot program. For the drone pilot, Mountain Care Center entered into a consent order with the Board that specifically identified the process to be used for delivering a limited amount of Schedule VI (legend) drugs from the free clinic pharmacy to the pharmacy on site at the regional area medical event in Wise County.
Event organizers are hoping that the successful deliveries show the usefulness of drones in supplying medicine during disasters or for rural areas, such as Wise County, where many people live an hour or more from their pharmacy. CBS News also visited the health fair to watch the drones deliver the medicine, the first federally approved delivery of its nature by drone.