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Blockchain applications in the pharmaceutical industry

Rohan Hall, Entrepreneur | Sr. Architect | Emerging Technology Group, Capital Group | American funds

Rohan Hall, Entrepreneur | Sr. Architect | Emerging Technology Group, Capital Group | American funds

Rohan Hall, Entrepreneur | Sr. Architect | Emerging Technology Group, Capital Group | American funds

The pharmaceutical industry is a massive, multi-trillion industry and within it there are several regulations that must be met. These ensure that a drug is safe for human consumption. All aspects of drug production, including clinical trials, production and distribution are regulated. However, how can a pharmacist or a doctor make sure the drug is safe for consumption?

And if you could know for sure where the drug was produced, the key ingredients, who handled the shipment, the clinical trials, as well as the entire trip from the production shop to the hospital or pharmacist?

These are the data that Blockchain technology can easily store with greater transparency and security. Blockchains provide a shared, transparent and immutable database that can connect drug manufacturers, distributors, regulators and chemists.

Challenges of the pharmaceutical supply chain

Globalization has increased access to medicines, but has also complicated existing supply chains so far. The movement of the drug from the production warehouse to the hospital or to the pharmacist is becoming less and less transparent, thanks to the lack of a unified technology to streamline the supply chain processes.

Blockchain is a safe, transparent and sustainable solution to the problem of counterfeit drugs in the pharmaceutical industry

Here are some challenges that disrupt supply chains in pharmaceuticals:

1. Proliferation of counterfeit drugs

The proliferation of counterfeit or unregulated drugs is fueled by a number of factors ranging from the lack of a technological framework to distinguish between genuine drugs and counterfeit products, high prices of genuine products and corruption. A new report from the WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that 10% of drugs circulating in low-income countries are of low quality or counterfeit. The same report notes that 35% of counterfeit drugs sold globally come from India. The problem with fake drugs can have a very negative impact on overall health, especially where regulation could be more relaxed. This includes a lot of poorer countries that are not able to afford well-needed drugs, but also communities in richer nations that are either uninsured, underdeveloped or have financial difficulties with the supply of necessary drugs.

According to the International Policy Network (IPN), a Washington-based think tank in medical research, more than 700,000 people die each year from fake drugs against malaria and tuberculosis. Current systems do not have the ability to capture important data from consumers who are able to provide important information that could help regulators, insurance companies, researchers to improve products.

2. Centralized databases

Drug manufacturers are currently using centralized databases creating a huge problem for regulators to determine the entire drug production infrastructure. The parts of the entire drug supply chain also keep their data. This approach is clearly a much better approach than the previous manual based on paper and manual. However, centralized approaches also have various problems. This includes transparency, where all participants in the network may not have the same data visibility; trust where the ability to change transactions and transaction history can create challenges and trust issues; security, where centralized systems can be hacked or data can be manipulated.

Solutions with Blockchain

The lack of a unified technology that can trace, track and authenticate drugs at every stage of the supply chain is the cause of the problems that make the pharmaceutical industry worse. Blockchain can help streamline supply chain processes in pharmaceuticals and create a system that eliminates counterfeit drugs.

Here's how Blockchain could work in the drug supply chain:

1. Producers store data on the drug production process on the Blockchain

A manufacturer acquires all the details of the drugs as essential ingredients and the procedure used to produce the drug, moisture and temperature conditions on a Blockchain. This data is made accessible to all interested parties (regulators, chemists and distributors) involved in the supply chain.

2. The regulator controls the medication

Regulators conduct clinical trials on the drug to ensure compliance compliance. They feed on this record on the same Blockchain.

3. Hospitals / pharmacies propose for the drug processed through smart contracts

Here, pharmacies / hospitals make offers for drugs through an intelligent contract. If the offer is accepted, the manufacturers send the drug to the retailers and update the transport data on the Blockchain.

Manufacturers then hire shipping companies to distribute the drug to different retailers. The shipment of the processed drug is carried out through trucks equipped with IoT that record in real time environmental conditions such as humidity and temperature on the Blockchain.

4. Improved patient confidence

If the manufacturer's source data, processing data, lot numbers, expiry dates and shipping data are digitally recorded on Blockchain, it is possible to have visibility of transaction histories, location and quality of the transaction. drug. This end-to-end traceability improves trust, efficiency and transparency in the entire supply chain.

All the data acquired during each transaction are validated by all the nodes in the ecosystem. After confirmation, the block is added to the entire transaction chain, generating a transparent, permanent and verifiable record that can be easily accessed by consumers and chemists.

Conclusion

The proliferation of counterfeit drugs is fueled by a number of factors ranging from the lack of a technological framework to distinguish between genuine and fake drugs in the supply chain. The lack of a unified technology that can trace, track and authenticate drugs at every stage of the supply chain is the cause of the problems that make the pharmaceutical industry worse.

Blockchain is a safe, transparent and sustainable solution to the problem of counterfeit drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.

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