Blockchain

The US Food and Drug Administration Plans to Use Blockchain to Track Drug Supplies

The US Food and Drug Administration is very focused on ensuring that all the products that they regulate are safe and of high quality. The agency is finding ways to ensure that no corrupt or illegitimate drugs find their way to hospitals and pharmacies. The FDA, in an attempt to identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the United States, announced the launch of a new pilot project which will allow them to explore ways to track them.

“We recognize that tracking and tracing products, is critical to industry’s ability to detect and remove potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain,” said Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner in a press release. “We’re invested in exploring new ways to improve traceability, in some cases using the same technologies that can enhance drug supply chain security, like the use of blockchain.”

FDA has recruited Frank Yiannas, an expert on the use of traceability technology in the global food supply, to advance these efforts. Yiannas is expected to work with Gottlieb to strengthen US food supply. “Under his [Yiannas’s] leadership, we’ll continue to leverage all tools available to ensure greater accountability,” said Gottlieb.

Though the FDA isn’t specific about what technology companies would use to explore and evaluate methods to enhance the safety and security of the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain, it considers blockchain as one such solution. Blockchain will provide a secure, distributed ledger that will help trace the drugs’ path from the production to any pharmacy or a hospital. It will also help identify any anomaly in supply chain and the source of such an anomaly within seconds.

Gottlieb said that the FDA is committed to being at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and ensure how they might be used to create safer, smarter and more trusted supply chains to protect consumer safety better. FDA will be accepting the application for participation until March 11, and the electronic, interoperable system is expected to be up and running by 2023.

Many companies recently have adopted blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to improve security and safety in the supply chain. Recently, environmental group World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Australia joined hands with BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV) to launch a Blockchain based platform to minimize the illegal and unethical sourcing of food and other animal products. Last year Carrefour, a popular retail operator in France, started a blockchain food tracking platform to oversee the quality and origin of chickens in their supply chain.

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