IBM, KPMG, Merck, Walmart successful in drug-tracing blockchain pilot

IBM, KPMG, Merck, Walmart successful in drug-tracing blockchain pilot

Multiple companies are recently engaged in a blockchain effort that will create an infrastructure to help verify and track pharmaceutical products.

IBM, KPMG, Merck, and Walmart declared the success of their drug-tracing blockchain project in their report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The partnership was created to provide an electronic and interoperable system for the pharmaceutical supply chain.

A blockchain response to the DSCSA

The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) signed into law last 2013 made the requirement for an “electronic, interoperable system” to “verify, track and trace prescription drugs” by November 23, 2023.

This is in line with the efforts to encourage collaboration between pharmaceutical trading partners in improving patient safety.

IBM, KPMG, Merck, Walmart successful in drug-tracing blockchain pilot

IBM, KPMG, Merck, and Walmart worked on a blockchain response to the FDA Pilot program in preparation for the DSCSA requirement.

The program had two objectives:

  • Demonstrate the capacity of the blockchain to keep a secure and shared record of product movements within the pharmaceutical supply chain.
  • Establish reliable product alerts and increased visibility for supply chain participants in the event of a product investigation or recall.

According to the companies, they were “successful in addressing the stated objectives.”

How will the program benefit from the blockchain?

The companies that combined their expertise and infrastructure to work on the project noted that blockchain technology could help them achieve their shared objectives in the future.

“The four organizations believe that blockchain technology with its shareable ledger, immutable data, and inherent ability to track drug provenance, is uniquely qualified to address the various challenges of the pharmaceutical supply chain.”

The FDA Pilot was “designed to allow for rapid alerts between supply chain partners” if ever there comes a situation when a certain medication has to be recalled.

It is hoped that the initiative will be helpful in automating the “highly manual and fragmented” process being followed for drug notification procedures.

The primary beneficiaries, according to the report, are manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers who have to abide by standards and procedures that the DSCSA has set.

According to them:

“With the use of a blockchain-enabled solution, this technology might be able to address the foundational requirement of track and trace for DSCSA in addition to establishing trust between trading partners.”

The pharmaceutical industry is bound to change in the future

The report presented a glance at the United States population who are consuming prescription medications.

As stated in the report, the number of aging Americans who will need to take medications is bound to increase substantially by 2060.

It adds that there is an expectation of new federal laws in the future, mainly targeted on a more transparent and reliable pharmaceutical supply chain.

Images courtesy of Pixabay/Pexels, Pixabay/Pexels

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