Big Pharma & Tech Use Blockchain to Prevent Prescription Drug Death

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:57
Urvashi Verma
Intel and Johnson & Johnson will test a simulated version of a Blockchain platform designed to track prescription drugs across the supply chain
Cover image via U.Today

Tech giants Intel and Johnson & Johnson will test a simulated version of a Blockchain platform designed to track prescription drugs across the supply chain.

The goal of the project is to bring pharmaceutical industry into compliance with Drug Supply Chain Security Act and ensure the safe availability of prescription drugs to consumers.

The system is designed to track drugs from their point of manufacture to final distribution with the aim of removing potentially dangerous drugs from reaching US consumers, experts say.

The manufacturing and distribution of fake or substandard medications is a $30 bln problem and causes 200,000 deaths each year globally, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization.

David Houlding, the director of healthcare privacy and security at Intel Health and Life Sciences, told Bloomberg:

“The ultimate goal is for all drug-related companies and their suppliers worldwide to be on the Blockchain, an online ledger that can’t be erased. Then government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration could potentially plug into the Blockchain and provide oversight.”


The project aims to bring pharmaceutical firms into compliance with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, passed in 2013 which outlines steps to build an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace prescription drugs as they are distributed in the US.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement:

“This (Drug Supply Chain Security Act)  will enhance FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from exposure to drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated or otherwise harmful. The system will also improve detection and removal of potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain to protect US consumers.”

Testing will commence this spring when Johnson & Johnson, McKesson Corp., and other companies will enter simulated data into digital ledgers. Based on results, a pilot could be launched by the end of this year.

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About the author

Urvashi Verma is a Chicago-based reporter who writes about the convergence of technology and business. She is interested in fintech, digital currencies, blockchain and currency markets. Urvashi formerly worked with the Times of Israel covering Israel's booming tech industry including Start-Up Nation, venture capital investment, and crowd-funding platforms.

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