People want to be healthy and live long, there is nothing surprising in this. Life expectancy in developed countries has grown significantly over the past few decades. This has happened for various reasons, including the development of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.
There are so many medicines that often doctors do not have the time to keep track of what’s new in this market. And the ever-growing number of manufacturers further exacerbates the problem of controlling the distribution of pharmaceuticals. What can be done? Blockchain!
Blockchain, legality and accessibility
The revolutionary technology of the distributed registry seems to be especially invented for the pharmaceutical industry. It is able to solve some problems forever. For example, the problem of counterfeit products. Experts estimate the global counterfeit market at $200 billion. Africa leads the world in counterfeit medicine, then America, both North and South. In third place is Europe. According to various sources, from 150,000 to 1 million people around the world die from fake medicine. How many people that do not receive proper treatment for the same reason is impossible to count. All this concerns both ordinary people and the World Health Organization. The WHO is constantly calling for the standardization of medical and pharmacological processes, and for good reason.
Imagine the World Cup taking place without one common standard for football. For example, in one country your field size is accepted, in another – the number of players, in the third – the period of time. The game seems to be the same but there is no uniformity, and therefore, it will not be possible to play with each other. This is approximately what happens in the pharmaceutical industry. It is difficult to build common processes and to predict their results.
To create a unified system for the certification and identification of all medicines, as well as their manufacturers – this would be a good solution to the problem.
The first attempt to implement this idea in practice was made by a team of scientists and businessmen who created the project FarmaTrust. David Allen Cohen, Chief Technology Advisor at FarmaTrust, says: “We can show you the most effective way to enter the market not only for future deliveries, but also the places where your medications are urgently needed, instead of just lying in a warehouse. The FarmaTrust solution improves efficiency and at the same time saves lives.”
The FarmaTrust platform runs on distributed registry technology and is able to track the entire process of drug delivery from the manufacturer to anywhere, even the smallest and the most remote village. FarmaTrust can be scaled to almost all regions of the planet. This will only increase the stability of the decentralized system.
The platform sends a special signal to the police if it detects counterfeiting, thus the blockchain fully guarantees the legality of each drug. It is always possible to quickly and reliably find out at what particular stage a violation has occurred, and to remove the “weak link” in the future. To implement the project, two types of tokens were issued: the first to track medicines and the second to pay for the services of FarmaTrust.
Blockchain, storage and transportation
Students of one university in Russia seem to have found a solution to two problems of the pharmaceutical industry. The first is temperature control during transportation of heat-sensitive drugs. The second is the automation of the process of concluding transactions between the consignee and carriers.
The researchers found that almost a quarter of all drugs are not properly delivered. And this in turn means that the consumer does not get the drug itself, but a deteriorated product, which of course is dangerous for health and sometimes for people’s lives.
The idea of the project, which was proposed by Russian students, is quite simple. A specially developed sensor is lowered into the box of medicine. With the help of a mobile application, any person can connect to the sensor during transport and find out the exact temperature. The whole system works on the blockchain so the participants of the process can see the changes that were entered into the database. Thus, the problem of trust is solved. At the moment, work is being completed on the application and the prototype of the sensor, and negotiations are also being conducted with companies ready to test this new invention.
Blockchain, production and accounting
Another idea comes from Russia – a pilot project for the registration of medicine based on a distributed registry was launched in April of 2018 in the Novgorod region.
The purpose of the project is to combat the falsification and resale of expensive prescription drugs, which are bought with budgetary money. To implement the project, the medical facilities of the region added a new program for registering medicines that were added to a newly created unified registry of prescriptions. If the experiment is successful it can be scaled to all of Russia.
Another problem of the pharmaceutical industry is the development of new drugs. Rigid standards and the complexity of research has led to the fact that this process sometimes lasts for years and even decades – an average of up to 7 years. And the average cost of successful development has seriously increased in the last 10-15 years. Currently it is about $2.6 billion. And here blockchain can also help. Pfizer, Amgen, and Sanofi announced earlier in the year that they wanted to create their own platform for testing new drugs and conducting clinical trials.
So, in the pharmaceutical industry the need for change is present. Blokchain projects not only promise to transform this area with which people’s health is directly connected. They are preparing to completely cure all of its old problems.
Platforms based on blockchain have already been developed and are in operation in order to prevent corruption in the production and transportation of pharmaceutical products.
IBM and the Chinese operator, Hejia, have developed their own distributed register to track all stages of the logistics process of medicines and to conduct payment.
DHL, in cooperation with Accenture, have announced the creation of a prototype system based on the blockchain system which can track packages by serial numbers.
The world’s largest pharmaceutical companies – Pfizer, AbbVie, and Genentech – are also working to create a platform based on blockchain. Its goal is to combat forgery.
Most likely in the near future the world will expect the creation of national drug accounting systems. And then there will be a question of the development of a global blockchain platform for regulating the entire pharmaceutical distribution on the planet.