Blockchain technology for safeguarding pharma product integrity

Published in
3 min readSep 8, 2021

Fake goods are everywhere. It’s a global issue that impacts almost every industry in the world. While manufacturers and distributors lose millions of dollars each year to counterfeit goods, they pose an even greater threat to consumers. Identifying counterfeit goods and removing them from the supply chain is a difficult task. The pharmaceutical industry is worst hit by counterfeiting. Fake drugs cost over $200 billion per year and over 1 million people lose their lives using these drugs. The drugmaker’s loss of trust and reputation is an obvious outcome.

Buying and using a counterfeit drug is not like buying a fake piece of clothing or electronic gadget. Fake drugs not only fail to treat the condition but can also be harmful or even fatal to the user. Identifying counterfeit drugs once they reach the market is virtually impossible. The only way to address this issue is by tracking drugs from their point of origin to the point of sale. Blockchain could be helping to deliver on this goal and potentially being a game-changer for the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Why Blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology has entered almost every sector of commerce. It is widely applicable across different use cases from finance to healthcare. Blockchain creates an ecosystem where people can trust each other since everyone involved in the transaction has access to a full ledger. It is an innovative approach to sharing and managing data, known for solving problems in the supply chain, real estate, finance, and government.

The blockchain can be viewed as a disruptive technology for exchanging anything that is worth something. It has all the prerequisites for a secure network to conduct transactions on.

• Security

• Transparency

• Trust

• Programmability

• Privacy

• Scalability

So, how will Blockchain technology ensure drug integrity?

A study by Pistoia Alliance reveals that around 70% of the pharma and life sciences leaders believe that blockchain technology will transform the pharma supply chain by creating an auditable trail and establishing drug provenance. A distributed blockchain-as-a-service platform enables manufacturers, wholesalers, re-packagers, distributors, and consumers to track and identify the origin of a drug thereby ensuring its quality and authenticity.

Blockchain will equip the pharmaceutical industry with the resources to comply with regulations like the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) enacted by the US Congress. By serializing the drugs at unit level and package level helps to track its information like manufacturing location, date, components, the logistics route, sale details, and so on. This data can be managed using easy-to-use software and shared on a permissioned blockchain network. All the authorized stakeholders like manufacturers, resellers, wholesalers, re-packagers, and consumers can have access to this information.

Blockchain allows for close to real-time tracking of drugs from the point of manufacture up to the end consumer. This avoids any possibility of falsification or counterfeiting, as any attempt to modify records would be visible to all stakeholders on the blockchain network.

The use of a blockchain platform for supply chain management makes recalls easier. Since all the information is readily available in the distributed ledger, expired and defective batches of drugs can be identified and located faster than ever before.

Blockchain adoption

The process of adopting blockchain for the pharma supply chain involves multiple challenges. Choosing the right blockchain platform, utilization of the existing IT infrastructure, scaling the network and requirement of a huge amount of time and money. Blockedge makes this process easier with end-to-end support from blockchain consulting to infrastructure management.

Gain more insights on how blockchain would be a viable solution for Pharma through this webinar on Leveraging Blockchain in Life Sciences for Track & Trace Compliance — Hosted by Healthcare Triangle and Blockedge Technologies. Register here:

Author: Anantha Krishnan, Product Marketer

Aspiring author, creative marketer, and product marketer by trade, plans, creates and promotes strategic content to reach the target audience.