The Life Sciences or Pharmaceutical industry has been struggling to deal with the challenges related to drug counterfeiting and ineffective supply chain management. Apart from this, it is also combating the high cost of bringing new drugs to the market, along with new standards. As a result, preventing theft, counterfeiting and forgery, while minimizing cost and improving compliance has become the utmost priority for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. To remain competitive, businesses require adopting a game-changing technology that can resolve most, if not all the current issues associated with compliance and traceability.
Blockchain – A Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is anticipated to be the silver bullet that is disrupting the supply chain industry, and aptly solves most, if not all the existing problems. Besides bringing control and enhanced visibility into the network for addressing issues pertaining to traceability and counterfeiting, the use of Smart Contracts helps automate various processes in the supply chain bringing cost efficiencies.
Given the complex pharmaceutical ecosystem, it becomes very difficult for anyone within the pharmaceutical supply chain to track products’ authenticity from start to finish. With a Blockchain solution in place, the much-needed trust between all the participants of the value chain i.e. pharma companies, manufacturers, trading partners, pharmacies, patients, would be secured. All this and more with the added benefit of supporting compliance with regulatory bodies into the mix. While the conventional tracking system has to an extent resolved the pain points, it still cannot ensure the security and integrity of data that has become a cause of concern, especially in the light of recent cyber security attacks.
Listed below are few benefits of introducing Block chain technology into the pharma supply chain:
- Combating Drug Counterfeiting: Drug counterfeiting has become a pressing issue both in terms of economic cost, as well as patient safety. By integrating Blockchain into the pharma supply chain, much required trust and transparency is established within the network. Such a platform allows tracking of pharmaceutical supplies to all the participants of the supply chain. So, while the stakeholders gain the power to maximize their efficiency during drug distribution, patients on the other hand can ensure their safety by verifying the drugs independently at every stage.
- Ensuring Data Integrity: Blockchain technology allows distributed record keeping through its digital ledger. However, the data flowing in the chain is immutable as every new transaction is authenticated by network consensus. The transactions that are once authenticated by the consensus mechanism are practically tamper-proof and cannot be modified. This establishes high-level of data integrity, thereby making data secure, compliant and available for all the participants.
- Improved Traceability: Keeping track of multiple transactions performed by a multitude of participants is one of the thorniest supply chain challenges. The sheer amount of data generated poses a challenge, even when some of the participants have automated systems to trace and then track the progression of drug through the supply chain.
Blockchain ensures integrity of the supply chain through a closed ledger system that facilitates trusted exchange between the stakeholders, along with the benefit of audit trail that fulfills the evolving regulatory requirements.
- Elevated Regulatory Compliance: Despite stringent regulatory policies, the challenges around ensuring ‘trustless’ compliance still exist in the pharmaceutical industry. By incorporating Blockchain, pharma supply chain pain points such as product counterfeiting, condition of drugs in transit, data security etc. can be curbed. The ‘smart contract’ element of the Blockchain defines terms and agreement that can help healthcare regulators and stakeholders ensure better compliance.
Blockchain has the potential to transform businesses by removing inefficiencies, speeding up transactions while enabling new and innovative business models. However, in the pharmaceutical industry, Blockchain supports wide range of functions, both within and outside the supply chain. But as of now, the drug supply chain tends to be the most appropriate candidate that stands to benefit the most from this ground-breaking technology. This would pave way for a drug supply system that is more efficient, secure and less expensive to function in.
Sofocle’s sofoChain solution provides end to end traceability using Blockchain along with Smart Contracts to manage promotions, payments, SLAs and contracts in the Pharma supply chain. To know more about sofoChain solution, drop us an E-mail at [email protected] or Contact Us.