Intel will pilot blockchain-based system to track supply chain of addictive medicines:
American multinational tech giant Intel will pilot a blockchain-based solution to track supply chain of medicines. The project may have significant positive impact on supply chain tracking of addictive medicines.
Overdose of addictive medicines, especially opioids, is a significant challenge all over the world. In the USA alone, over 115 people die every day due to overdose of opioids. Opioids are often used for pain relief, suppressing cough, or for other medical conditions, and they can be addictive.
An estimated US $ 78.5 billion is the annual economic burden in the USA alone due to opioids overdose, and this cost can be incurred in several ways such as cost of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment etc. “Double doctoring”, i.e. multiple doctors prescribing same addictive drug to a single patient is a serious issue in this context, because multiple prescriptions allow patients to purchase opioids at high amount, leading to overdose of opioids.
While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes drug supply chain security very seriously, they certainly need a technology solution that’s interoperable. Stakeholders at various points in the drug supply chain, i.e. manufacturing, distribution, should be to communicate with each other in a transparent manner, using consistent terminology and metrics.
Intel is planning a pilot project that will track movement of drug at every stage of its life-cycle, on a blockchain platform. Blockchain, with its promise of decentralization and immutable record, is eminently suitable for supply chain assurance, because the distributed ledger provides complete transparency, and records are tamper-proof.
Intel is partnering with other companies, including Johnson & Johnson, for this pilot project. To start with, participants will simulate movement of drug through the various life-cycle points, and a limited production deployment of the system will follow a success pilot project.
Experts in Intel believe that for maximum effectiveness, the system will need to be deployed worldwide, and not only in the US. This is because many addictive drugs are manufactured elsewhere and sold in the US.
Intel, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA, isn’t new to blockchain. They have been significant work on this technology, for e.g.:
- They plan to patent a technology solution to use blockchain for genetic sequencing;
- They have also filed patent application for a hardware accelerator for crypto mining.
Blockchain is already being used for supply chain tracking and assurance in several industries, for e.g.:
- Norway-based risk management company DNV GL has partnered with VeChain to power their risk assurance business with blockchain;
- German automaker BMW is using blockchain to ensure that they only use cleanly procured cobalt for the batteries in their electric vehicles;
- American retail giant Walmart is planning to use this technology for supply chain assurance in their live food business.