A blockchain system intended to ensure the safety and authenticity of medicines across the supply chain could change the way that medical professionals work, as discussed at the 11th Annual Clinical Trial Supply Nordics conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Speaking on behalf of US-based pharmaceutical company MSD, Alexandru Popa touted the company’s application, named TransVoyant, which uses blockchain technology, as well as data gathered from the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide a full picture of a product journey from development to patient.
Speaking at the event, Popa detailed how the system has already been piloted in Hong Kong, India and Mexico and would even be able to detect fake or expired medicines before they end up in the hands of patients.
He said: “At present, as goods move through the [healthcare] system, each participant along the way is updating and keeping their own ledger. This system has been around since people started to trade.
“But this system is very inefficient, it is very expensive when you think about the regulatory industry inside pharma, you spend a lot of effort ensuring that records are right and that all of the faulty records are wiped.
“It is also very vulnerable. If you have bad actors in the system, or you have outside malware, this means your data might be at risk, or you don’t have any visibility.”
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Popa described the new blockchain system as a digitally distributed and secure ledger, going on to detail how the blockchain would become the common ledger, allowing participants to put their transactions into the common ledger enhancing transparency.
Demonstrating the TransVoyant app to the audience, He showed how the app could be used to scan a barcode attached to the packaging of medical supplies that, when scanned, would allow the user to see whether the item is valid or if it is expired or even fraudulent.
Detailing his belief in the need for a large-scale transition in the healthcare industry towards blockchain technology, Popa said: “Pilots for this kind of thing are essential. There is no need to implement a complex solution to solve something that can be solved much sooner in a simpler way, that is why pilots are important in this system.”
The company hopes to collaborate on this project with a significant number of other pharmaceutical companies in establishing the blockchain-based system. So far, Popa said that the company has been able to bring 12 other companies into the system.