Posted 1 year ago | by Ben Armstrong

FDA Plans to Use Blockchain Platform MediLedger for Drug Tracking

After completing a pilot program with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 25 of the most important pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, logistic partners, and other representatives of the pharma supply chain have published a report which supports the use blockchain technology to track and trace prescription drugs in the near future.

In early 2019 the FDA started accepting proposals for projects which seek to assist the office to meet the 2023 requirements of the Drug Supply Chain and Security Act (DSCSA), which requires tracking of: “legal changes in ownership of pharmaceuticals in the supply chain.”

The FDA approved the MediLedger Project in June 2019. The blockchain-based MediLedger Network was sought to evaluate as a vehicle for tracking and tracing prescription medicines in the US by a working group of 25 major companies operating within the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The FDA Supports MediLedger

MediLedger is built by a group of companies, lncluding multinational pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen, operator of the United States’ second-largest pharmacy chain Walgreens, multinational retail corporation Walmart, and delivery services company FedEx.

According to the report, the working group with 25 leading companies believes that the absence of “a central point of data sharing” will put the US pharmaceutical supply falling behind international competitors while companies “struggle with keeping data accurately and completely shared across a wide variety of partners, systems and technical formats."

The report pointed out that “stakeholders and agents will struggle to locate and quarantine suspect product in a timely manner, continuing to put patients’ lives at stake” in the event of a significant public health crisis. Moreover, “using the advancements of technology like blockchain can avoid these significant risks.”

Blockchain is Perfect for Supply Chains

Although the report confirmed “blockchain has the capability to be the technology underlying an interoperable system for the pharmaceutical supply chain,” it also noted that it is “a complex solution” that needs a stabilization period.

It also asserted that the long-term success of an interoperable blockchain solution will depend on “strong participation and adoption from all industry stakeholders.”

According to a MediLedger report, by maintaining zero-knowledge proof technology, the data privacy requirements of the pharmaceutical industry can be upheld to ensure that no business intelligence of confidential information is shared while the immutability of the blockchain is kept intact.

The MediLedger project combines three core technologies, including a private messaging system between clients by and trading partners, blockchain as an immutable shared ledger for transaction confirmation, and smart contract execution, and zero-knowledge to ensure the privacy for messaging and transfers.