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Cleaning of the chain of custody for medical prostheses with blockchain

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The implications of counterfeit medical devices are scary. Patients who undergo hip replacement probably do not expect to be equipped with counterfeit artificial hips and made from low quality materials. Photocredit: GettyGetty

Counterfeit products are a massive global industry, almost worth it half a trillion dollars Worldwide. These articles insinuate themselves in almost every area you can think of, including some that you may have considered safe from the threat of counterfeit products.

In the early days of the co-founding of a startup that focused on supply chain solutions, I spoke with people from different industries worried about counterfeiting and diversion into their supply chains. But one area that struck me, in particular, was the medical devices.

It's hard to imagine anyone out there is & nbsp;counterfeiting of life-saving devices or plants, but it happens. In fact, more than $ 51 million of counterfeit medicines and medical devices have been seized an operation of Interpol again in September 2017.

It is extremely disconcerting to listen to the devices that many rely on to keep them in good health, but which may not have been produced under strict scrutiny, but rather, created in an attempt to make money quickly.

Fortunately, the industry is well aware of the problem and new technologies are making it easier than ever for companies to counterfeiters.

After optimizing company supply chains for several years, I found several ways in which blockchain can help.

Having a closed chain chain of custody (COC) will make it easier for patients and suppliers to provide proof of origin.

The implications of counterfeit medical devices are scary. & Nbsp; Patients who undergo hip replacement expect these implants to last for 20 years or more. But they probably do not expect to be equipped with counterfeit artificial flanks and made of low quality materials.

If a false implant is used, what was supposed to last a patient for decades suddenly has a much shorter life span. And for devices like pacemakers, the stakes are even higher.

With online lives, you need a custody system that can help clean up supply chains. Without one, some of the products we trust to keep ourselves healthy could actually have the opposite effect.

For example, the use of Boston Scientific polypropylene for gynecological mesh implants& nbsp; it has recently been screened after more than 100,000 women have taken legal action against the products. The plastic, coming from the brokers in China, was considered unsafe by the experts. However, after the plastic supply was discontinued, the company found another source, approved by the FDA, but that seemed to have little visibility in the various stages of the supply chain. Although it has not been shown that these implants contained counterfeit materials, they nevertheless raised concerns about patient health.

It is simply unacceptable that patients and providers are concerned that the medical devices they are using can have an unexpected effect on overall health.

Digitization of the chain of custody records and the entry of blockchain transactions will eliminate many questions about the origin.

Keeping track of a medical device is simply a way to guarantee two things: it comes from the right place and, if something goes wrong, there is no doubt about where it originated.

Blockchain is the best way to eliminate unknowns or questions. Let's say you're following the path that an artificial hip takes while traveling from the manufacturer to the hospital, where a patient with hip replacement awaits. The hip is tagged with a unique cryptographic identifier that links it to an identity on the blockchain. Whenever the hands exchanges, from the supplier on, it is possible to record the timestamp and geolocation on the blockchain, creating an immutable record on the chain of custody of the plant.

If all those in the supply chain record such custody transfers, it becomes difficult for counterfeiters to enter the supply chain. They would not have any identifiers, and even if they did, the blockchain record would show that they were not sourced from the supplier or manufacturer. By working back through the registered COC, it would be relatively easy to find out where the counterfeit products have entered the supply chain.

A large part of the value of the blockchain is that data on these supply chains will persist.

At present, if a company that is monitoring the chain of custody has ceased its operations, data may not be 10 years after the start of a collective legal action. With a blockchain, you know that information will always be there. It is not possible that the culprit has the classic "Destroy everything" Enron moment when the reviewers come knocking.

However, the goal is not to persecute companies in the industry, but to make sure they have better recordings that do not allow anything to slip through the cracks in the first place.

If you have an existing physical chain of custody, consider adding a blockchain backend.

The chain of custody is not a new concept and there are already several methods that companies can use to track products. Some are digital, while others are based on physical documents. If your company is already using a COC solution, it's a good idea to add a back-end blockchain solution to help manage resources.

Over time, the goal for the medical device industry is to come together in a consortium and set standards for what the chain of custody is expected to resemble devices and facilities. And once these standards are established and the industry has formed a network around them, new possibilities for collaboration may arise.

Fakes can be a widespread problem, but not one of those patients and doctors should have to worry about. With a tighter supply chain, supported by blockchain COC solutions, this goal can be turned into reality.

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The implications of counterfeit medical devices are scary. Patients who undergo hip replacement probably do not expect to be equipped with counterfeit artificial hips and made from low quality materials. Photocredit: GettyGetty

Counterfeit products are a massive global industry, almost worth it half a trillion dollars Worldwide. These articles insinuate themselves in almost every area you can think of, including some that you may have considered safe from the threat of counterfeit products.

At the start of the co-foundation of a startup focused on supply chain solutions, I spoke with people from different industrial sectors worried about counterfeiting and diversion in their supply chains. But one area that struck me, in particular, was the medical devices.

It is difficult to imagine that someone is out there counterfeiting of life-saving devices or plants, but it happens. In fact, more than $ 51 million of counterfeit medicines and medical devices have been seized an operation of Interpol again in September 2017.

It is extremely disconcerting to listen to the devices that many rely on to keep them in good health, but which may not have been produced under strict scrutiny, but rather, created in an attempt to make money quickly.

Fortunately, the industry is well aware of the problem and new technologies are making it easier than ever for companies to counterfeiters.

After optimizing company supply chains for several years, I found several ways in which blockchain can help.

Having a closed chain chain of custody (COC) will make it easier for patients and suppliers to provide proof of origin.

The implications of counterfeit medical devices are scary. Patients who undergo hip replacement expect such implants to last for 20 years or more. But they probably do not expect to be equipped with counterfeit artificial flanks and made of low quality materials.

If a false implant is used, what was supposed to last a patient for decades suddenly has a much shorter life span. And for devices like pacemakers, the stakes are even higher.

With online lives, you need a custody system that can help clean up supply chains. Without one, some of the products we trust to keep ourselves healthy could actually have the opposite effect.

For example, the use of Boston Scientific polypropylene for gynecological mesh implants it has recently been screened after more than 100,000 women have taken legal action against the products. The plastic, coming from the brokers in China, was considered unsafe by the experts. However, after the plastic supply was discontinued, the company found another source, approved by the FDA, but that seemed to have little visibility in the various stages of the supply chain. Although it has not been shown that these implants contained counterfeit materials, they nevertheless raised concerns about patient health.

It is simply unacceptable that patients and providers are concerned that the medical devices they are using can have an unexpected effect on overall health.

Digitization of the chain of custody records and the entry of blockchain transactions will eliminate many questions about the origin.

Keeping track of a medical device is simply a way to guarantee two things: it comes from the right place and, if something goes wrong, there is no doubt about where it originated.

Blockchain is the best way to eliminate unknowns or questions. Let's say you're following the path that an artificial hip takes while traveling from the manufacturer to the hospital, where a patient with hip replacement awaits. The hip is tagged with a unique cryptographic identifier that links it to an identity on the blockchain. Whenever the hands exchanges, from the supplier on, it is possible to record the timestamp and geolocation on the blockchain, creating an immutable record on the chain of custody of the plant.

If all those in the supply chain record such custody transfers, it becomes difficult for counterfeiters to enter the supply chain. They would not have any identifiers, and even if they did, the blockchain record would show that they were not sourced from the supplier or manufacturer. By working back through the registered COC, it would be relatively easy to find out where the counterfeit products have entered the supply chain.

A large part of the value of the blockchain is that data on these supply chains will persist.

At present, if a company that is monitoring the chain of custody has ceased its operations, data may not be 10 years after the start of a collective legal action. With a blockchain, you know that information will always be there. It is not possible that the culprit has the classic "Destroy everything" Enron moment when the reviewers come knocking.

However, the goal is not to persecute companies in the industry, but to make sure they have better recordings that do not allow anything to slip through the cracks in the first place.

If you have an existing physical chain of custody, consider adding a blockchain backend.

The chain of custody is not a new concept and there are already several methods that companies can use to track products. Some are digital, while others are based on physical documents. If your company is already using a COC solution, it's a good idea to add a back-end blockchain solution to help manage resources.

Over time, the goal for the medical device industry is to come together in a consortium and set standards for what the chain of custody is expected to resemble devices and facilities. And once these standards are established and the industry has formed a network around them, new possibilities for collaboration may arise.

Fakes can be a widespread problem, but not one of those patients and doctors should have to worry about. With a tighter supply chain, supported by blockchain COC solutions, this goal can be turned into reality.

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