The pharmaceutical industry may have found a solution to a problem they’ve been facing for quite some time. How do they stop the trafficking of stolen or fake pills that get to patients?
The answer to this question may be in the new technology known as blockchain. Blockchain is a type of software that runs across a network of multiple computers and creates a ledger that cannot be tampered with, so as to have an indelible record of various transactions.
This Thursday, the 21st of September, several companies stated that they would begin the MediLedger project, which would effectively manage the supply chains of many pharmaceutical companies and their respective drugs. Those included are some of the largest names in pharma, including Genentech and Pfizer.
If the project lives up to expectations, the entire chain of production to consumer would have to record the drug deliveries on a blockchain server. What does this actually mean when it is put in place? At each step of the distribution process is a group of computers that can verify the authenticity of a drug shipment. This process would effectively make it more and more difficult for individuals to sell stolen medications, or introduce fake versions of the medicine.
Ryan Orr, who works for the San Francisco-based copay MediLedger has stated that “the pharma industry consists of large conservative companies, so it takes a lot of confidence to build up a network like this.”
Drug companies are not the only ones who have decided to employ blockchain technology to secure the entirety of tis supply lines. The first industry to get in on the blockchain idea was the diamond industry. They have been working with a company known as Everledger to help verify the authenticity of diamonds and other precious stones as they move through the supply lines.
the hopes are high that this technology can be used across the board and continue to provide authenticity and prevent fraud.