Incidents of substandard or fraudulent pharmaceutical products still increase through what are assumed to be legitimate supply chains round the world. A recently released report by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and therefore the european union property Office (EUIPO) estimates that international trade counterfeit pharmaceuticals reached USD 4.4 billion in 2016. These counterfeit medicines are believed to origin mostly in developing countries which will penetrate supply chains and make their thanks to anywhere within the world. This leaves regulators and distributors during a frenzy who struggle to locate substandard products that have entered the system. These potentially harmful products pose serious risk to the health of many patients who buy and consume these medicines believing that they're safe and effective.

To address a number of these supply chain challenges, the pharmaceutical industry is popping to blockchain technology to enhance its visibility and potentially enhance patient safety.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain may be a public ledger technology that gives an immutable record of transactions.

It maintains a continuously growing set of knowledge , by logging data entries during a decentralised manner then combining the discrete blocks of knowledge from various stakeholders which upon acceptance are linked to the previous and future blocks. it's readable, writable, and tamper-proof by all. No central authority can control the content added and it's impossible to get rid of any entries after being accepted into the blockchain. It thus allows for transparency while maintaining data privacy. Immutability of the info enables the technology to be considered for highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Using this advanced technology, several companies which will include a whole network of suppliers, producers, distributors, retailers, etc. can safely collaborate employing a shared ledger while maintaining complete control and confidentiality. This helps all the members of the network to manage the info without the presence of any third party.

How Can It Help the Pharmaceutical Industry?

Pharmaceutical supply chains are highly complex and involve various stakeholders that range from manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, to regulatory agencies, hospitals, retailers who collaborate to collectively produce and deliver drug products. it's important that the availability chain although complex be flexible and responsive enough to swiftly introduce new products to the market, especially during a crisis just like the one we face immediately when timely distribution of life-saving drugs becomes all the more important and necessary.

Blockchain technology can effectively help manufacturers secure the standard of every ingredient, make sure the timely shipping of materials and maintenance of optimal storage conditions. Blockchain-based supply chain containing IoT devices, smart contracts, distribution ledger, and business layers can generate data for monitoring the standard of the assets, handle the privacy of knowledge , and predict the end-user requirements.

It not only introduces transparency in supply chain among the relevant stakeholders but also accelerates the general process of the delivery of medicine to patients. Blockchain can greatly help improve the agility of the availability chain even during extraordinary circumstances to expedite the availability of essential medicines. Enabling real–time verification by confirming transactions without having to seem at the underlying data, it also can smoothen day-to-day operations. Pharmaceutical companies affect sensitive information. With blockchain technology, the confidentiality of such information are often well-protected.

This technology can significantly reduce costs, automate processes by eliminating manual interventions and help save the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars annually. To sum up, using blockchain technology can immensely benefit pharmaceutical supply chain by offering end-to-end visibility, control, enhanced agility, and transparency. most significantly , blockchain technology creates an ecosystem of all stakeholders where they will collaborate, freely communicate, and operate seamlessly.

The Road Ahead

With further development of the technology and successful adoption of it, pharmaceutical companies along side other relevant supply and distribution stakeholders could precisely detect blockages within the supply chain, and take away damaged or counterfeit products, effectively identify which products face shortages or which areas have poor supply and redistribute inventory wherever it's most required.

All through the COVID crisis the pharmaceutical industry has had tremendous pressure to take care of its operational continuity ensuring fast and continuous supply of medicines even during these challenging circumstances. the worldwide health crisis actually reinstated our dependence on the pharmaceutical industry. it's therefore a chance for the industry to reimagine its processes and adopt the technology which will significantly help it in operating seamlessly.


Author's Bio: 

Pharmaceutical Solutions