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IBM, FDA, Blockchain Pilot Result Shows DLT’s Potential in P...
NEWS

IBM, FDA, Blockchain Pilot Result Shows DLT’s Potential in Pharma Industry

Tech giants, IBM, Merck, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and others who participated in the distributed ledger technology (DLT) pilot for the pharmaceutical industry have released the result of the project. The team says the pilot project has proved that blockchain technology can significantly reduce the time required for drug recalls from three days to just a couple of seconds.

DLT Useful in Pharma Industry

After several months of testing the usefulness of blockchain technology in the pharmaceutical industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it clear that the revolutionary technology has all it takes to improve transparency and efficiency in the ecosystem.

In a bid to develop robust, watertight systems that can optimally safeguard the privacy and security of data, especially at a time when cybercriminals are taking advantage of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic to make people’s lives more miserable, BBVA and the IMDEA Software Institute have joined forces.

Per sources close to the matter, BBVA and the IMDEA are set to explore a series of privacy-protecting techniques such as zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) and develop robust solutions for the financial sector.

ZKP cryptographic technique significantly enhances privacy and data security by making it possible for an authorized entity to verify the accuracy of given information without necessarily sharing the data it contains.

In other words, the team says the application of ZKP technology could give birth to data-based solutions that will enable enterprises to quickly verify customers’ information without having to share their sensitive data with third parties.

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As reported earlier in February 2020, a consortium made up of top players in the pharma, logistics and supply chain industry released a Final Pilot Report for the MediLedger blockchain pilot project, explaining how and why blockchain adoption will enable the industry to meet the 2023 Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCA) requirements.

Also, last June, the FDA collaborated with IBM, Walmart, KPMG and Merck to initiate a Hyperledger Fabric-based pilot program to track pharmaceutical products from the manufacturer to end-users. The primary objective of the pilot was to utilize DLT in testing drug recalls, while also enabling quick alerts among supply chain participants.

Streamlining the Pharma Supply Chain

Notably, the result of the pilot has revealed that the drug recall process can be reduced to just seconds rather than days, thanks to the improved traceability and supply chain transparency brought about by blockchain.

The team said:

The visibility provided by blockchain makes it easier for pharma supply chain actors to comply with the DSCA, prevent the distribution of fake drugs, fasten the drug recall process and more.

Building upon the success of the previous pilots, IBM, Merck, KPMG, and Walmart launched the Pharmaceutical Utility Network (PhUN) in February 2020. The team says PhUN is designed to help stakeholders to comply with regulation while also remaining innovative.

Importantly, member organizations are now leveraging PhUN to examine key challenges in the pharmaceutical industry, including regulatory compliance, drug shortages, clinical trials, drug recalls, and cold chain efficiency.

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