Drugmaker Cipla has launched drone-based deliveries of its critical medicines for hospitals in Himachal Pradesh, in partnership with Skye Air Mobility. The medicines included cardiac, respiratory, and other essential chronic therapies, Cipla said.

The use of drones will support on-time delivery of the company’s medicines to chemists and clinics in remote areas, while minimising risks including temperature-linked issues affecting cold chain products, it explained. Cipla is a forerunner among large Indian pharma companies to adopt drone-based deliveries to facilitate supply to stockists in remote areas, the company said. Further, the company aims to extend this service to inaccessible and hilly terrains such as Uttarakhand and the Northeastern regions of the country, it added.

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The development comes even as the company’s promoters reportedly look to divest stake in the drugmaker, something the company top-management have labeled as “speculation”.

Meanwhile, Cipla said, its inaugural phase of the drone deliveries covered approximately 50 kilometres distance in under 25 minutes. “This has been vital amidst adverse and prevailing weather conditions that have impacted conventional transportation routes in the state,” the company said. Cipla’s Global Supply Chain Head, Swapn Malpani said in a statement, that drone-powered distribution enhanced the company’s supply chain resilience.