By Shivani Uppal on The Capital
Blockchain is increasingly gaining popularity and has won acclaim for its far-reaching applications, primarily due to its recent penetration into sectors ranging from financial services to energy suppliers and pharmaceutical firms. The pharmaceutical industry is continuously exploring the Blockchain platform to help with several real-world use cases. The use cases include storing patient health data safely, accelerating clinical trials, and ultimately lowering drug development costs. Do you belong to the pharmaceutical industry? Enroll in a Blockchain training course to learn Blockchain skills for professionals and boost your business.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a global distributed ledger or database running on billions of devices. It allows access to anyone, where information and, in particular, anything of value can be moved and stored securely and anonymously.
Top Use Cases of Blockchain in Pharma
Blockchain is used in many industrial sectors, and now it’s time to look at the top use cases of Blockchain in Pharmaceuticals.
- Manufacturing Supply Chain
One of several critical issues in pharmaceutical supply chain manufacturing is the incredible number of incompatible computer systems that provide virtually no visibility of end-user sales to manufacturers. The problems resulting from this complicated situation could easily be avoided with blockchain by offering real-time access to data and profiles across the entire pharmaceutical supply chain, from the product codes of the manufacturer of ingredients to the pharmacy offering prescriptions to patients. Suppliers are currently operating without a shared ledger, creating a broad infrastructure gap and little-to-no protection for its participants. Pharmaceutical firms and pharmaceutical stores are participating in marketing partnerships involving discounts and coupons that deflate the product’s value to maximize its visibility and offer a misleading image of how many medications are on the market. Another substantial financial burden in the supply chain of manufacturing is the thousands of third-party companies that are well paid to research the movement of pharmaceuticals. A blockchain-based monitoring program could significantly minimize this considerable cost.
- Drug Safety
The key concerns surrounding the safety of drugs in the pharmaceutical supply chain are how the drugs are initially made. Traceability of active pharmaceutical ingredients during actual manufacturing is a complicated process, so the detection of drugs that do not contain the required active ingredients can ultimately lead to patient harm or even death. The number of deaths connected to these issues has increased in recent years. Blockchain’s advanced features enable it to provide the basis for complete traceability of drugs, from manufacturer to end-user, and the ability to identify exactly where the supply chain breaks down during the issue.
- Inventory Management
Despite the attempts of supply chain managers, the planning of inventories based on demand for pharmaceuticals can be daunting without sufficient visibility in the supply chain. A blockchain-based system will allow manufacturers to control inventory rates effectively to plan for demand spikes. With greater clarity in the inventory of wholesalers, manufacturers would be able to manage their inventory levels for a shorter overall hold period, creating efficient product flow and steady financial gains. As companies and inventories grow, these serialized tracking and tracing features of blockchain technology will become increasingly necessary for pharmaceutical organizations.
- Consumer Awareness and Public Awareness
There are several public safety concerns where blockchain can boost the efficacy of providing a safe and reliable drug to end-user patients. By making real-time data available by pressing a button, pharmacies and other retailers can improve their internal and external inventories by tracking product movements from in-store and in-transit information. Blockchain will fill holes in pharmaceutical supply chains globally and reduce their direct effects on the general population. It is critical to have a coherent framework for trustworthiness and healthy practice for both patients and the community. Blockchain incorporates these values by generating informative, real-time responses to events that could potentially affect patient health, such as life-saving prescription drug debuts and product recalls. Recall management is another problem that blockchain can address by better handling the mechanism of reminding the public of these forms of significant announcements. Up to one million people lose their lives each year worldwide due to these forms of mistakes, and better monitoring through the supply chain will have a massive impact on the existing pharmaceutical supply chain model.
- Clinical Trial Management
There are many cases of use for the integration of blockchain into the management process of clinical trials. However, they stand out for their significant potential. The first is the supply chain for big molecules. More biotech companies are producing vast molecular medicines from different backgrounds, creating an enormous need for a digital ledger to define and verify the various points along the road to a final product for the consumer. Another use case involves providing patients with appropriate clinical kit management practices, ensuring patient safety, and providing accurate results from patient studies. Governing all of these studies and complex data requires a secure, decentralized lead.
Boon or a Bane?
The benefits of incorporating blockchain technologies to enhance the protection of the supply chain, promote clinical trials, and increase patient data management efficiency are apparent. There is a certain amount of danger with the introduction of any new technology. While blockchain technology is attractive because it ensures security, the risk of a data breach or system failure can not be wholly eliminated or ignored.
Blockchain experts predict that the impact of blockchain can be gauged from the fact that it will help the healthcare industry to save $100-$150 billion per year. We have just started to see the potential of blockchain in the pharmaceutical supply chain industry and its beneficial impacts on manufacturers, clinicians, and the public. With so many initiatives being launched in Blockchain Pharmaceuticals, the number of cases produced may easily surpass the financial industry.
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