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SAP's goals are counterfeit drugs with trackchain tracker

SAP has launched a blockchain-based supply chain monitoring service that will allow drug wholesalers to authenticate pharmaceutical packaging returned from hospitals and pharmacies.

The Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences will initially be used to track the return of unused drugs to wholesalers, but SAP this week said it wanted to extend the use of distributed ledger technology to include a wider range of pharmaceutical supply chain processes.

There are about 60 million pharmaceutical returns every year to US wholesalers, for an estimated value of 7 billion dollars.

While financial services and shipbuilding industries have rapidly implemented blockchain, the healthcare sector should follow its leadership as it appears to increase efficiency and security, reduce costs and expand services using blockchain.

chain links that ensure multiple transactions / big data / security / blockchainMF3d / Getty Images

In essence, blockchain could help remodel health interoperability by serving as next-generation middleware that combines health data with decentralized, distributed and immutable qualities, according to a report released last year by IDC Health Insights.

As a result, by 2020, 20% of healthcare organizations will have passed pilot projects and will "use the blockchain for operations management and patient identity," the report said.

Blockchain interoperability could support data exchange, offering an alternative to current health information exchanges (HIEs); in essence, it will act as a mesh network to transmit secure data, almost in real time to patients for health professionals, pharmacies, insurers and clinical researchers, according to IDC.

Last fall, SAP announced it was working with over two dozen manufacturing, pharmaceutical, technology and shipping companies on an automated blockchain supply chain tracking system designed to enhance visibility and ensure the authenticity of goods such as food and drugs.

The software giant piloted its blockchain SAP Cloud Platform with 16 vendors of farm-to-consumer products such as Maple Leaf Foods, Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms, Tate & Lyle and Natura. SAP's blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) provides a level of abstraction that supports open standards and offers integrated integration with SAP applications.

In terms of the pharmaceutical community, SAP hopes its blockchain-based tracker can be used to enable compliance Unique Drug Identification Standards (IDMPs), which include messaging specifications designed to allow identification of a unique drug anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, said SAP, the immutable blockchain localization system will allow compliance with the US Drug Supply Chain (DSCSA), which will take effect in November and requires wholesalers to check drugs with a statute of limitations that are returned and intended for resale.

The new software allows customers to check the product code, batch, expiration date and a unique serial number embedded in the barcode with respect to manufacturers' data stored in the blockchain. The software was developed in collaboration with drug wholesalers AmerisourceBergen, Boehringer Ingelheim AG & Co. KG, GlaxoSmithKline plc and Merck Sharp & Dohme, among others.

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