Top Pharmaceutical Firms Urge FDA to Adopt Blockchain for Drug Tracking

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Leading market participants in the United States pharmaceutical industry, logistics firms, distributors and other stakeholders in the pharma supply chain have come together to publish a report buttressing the need for industry players to adopt blockchain for tracking prescription drugs, following the successful completion of a DLT pilot project with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to reports on February 24, 2020.

Big Pharma Vouch for Blockchain Technology 

Though nascent, blockchain technology, the building blocks of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies are fast gaining ground across various ecosystems, due to its immutability, security, privacy, and other intricate properties.

In the latest development, 25 leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, logistics partners and other market participants in the pharma supply chain, have published a report that highlights the importance of blockchain technology in drug traceability.

Reportedly, the FDA has been working on the MediLedger Pilot project, which seeks to help the pharma industry move toward meeting the 2023 requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), which makes it mandatory for the pharmaceutical ecosystem to be able to track legal changes of ownership of pharmaceutical products in the supply chain.

The Mediledger Blockchain Pilot

The MediLedger Pilot Project was approved by the FDA earlier in June 2019 and it’s a consortium of 25 top players in the pharma ecosystem including Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the U.S, Genentech, FedEx, GSK, Walmart, Pfizer, among others.

Fast forward to February 2020, and the consortium has released the Final Pilot Report, detailing “how and why blockchain can meet the 2023 DSCSA requirements for an interoperable, confidential change of ownership system” in the pharma supply chain.

In the report, the consortium members made it clear that it is very crucial for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry to have a central point of data sharing in order not to fall behind its competitors in other nations, “as firms find it difficult to keep data accurately and readily available in a wide variety of formats and systems for partners.

The report warns that if blockchain technology is not integrated into the processes of the U.S. pharma industry, when there is a serious public health crisis, it will be almost impossible for stakeholders and agents to “locate and quarantine suspect products quickly, thereby continuing to put patients’ lives at stake.”

To ensure that all sensitive data of the pharmaceutical industry remain private, the MediLedger report recommends the use of zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology.

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