Featured Article: PharmaLogistics IQ – Blockchain has potential to “change society”
PharmaLedger partners Daniel Fritz (Novartis) and Marco Cuomo (Novartis) were interviewed for the PharmaLogistics IQ event.
The Pharma IQ Live: Digital Supply Chain 2022 virtual event, held at the end of April 2022, brought together industry professionals to share supply chain insights. As part of the event, the article “Blockchain has potential to “change society,” was published, which features an interview with two of our partners, PharmaLedger’s Industry Lead Daniel Fritz (Novartis) and Architecture & Reference Implementation Co-Lead Marco Cuomo (Novartis). Marco and Dan shared their views on blockchain technology related to healthcare. You can access the original article below.
The article starts with a discussion of how blockchain has been widely adopted in cryptocurrency exchange, but it is also being adopted in other sectors. Blockchain has the potential to become prevalent in the backend of mobile apps, for example, which will make transactions more secure. We use our smartphones without knowing in detail how the backend technology functions, and it’s likely that blockchain will become a part of many behind-the-scenes processes that we use in the near future.
Blockchain makes transactions transparent and secure, and many sectors are slowly adopting this technology. “The potential for blockchain technology is immense. It might take 10 or 20 years, but we could have blockchain to ensure all our valuable asset transactions are secured,” said Marco.
Healthcare Supply Chains & Blockchain
Blockchain can connect patients with healthcare supply chains, starting with the manufacturing process and raw materials of medicine. It is end-to-end, meaning it can connect different data silos and organisations through the supply chain from start to finish (from manufacturers down to the patients).
Dan used an example of a patient scanning a medicine pack on his or her smartphone to find out if the medicine in hand has been stored at the proper temperature throughout its transport (given that the medicine is temperature-sensitive). The patient can also access a digital eLeaflet with additional information about the given medicine in hand.
PharmaLedger is working on realising this example through its Finished Goods Traceability, Anticounterfeiting, Clinical Trials and electronic Product Information (ePI) use cases. This reality would be possible if the medicine has been tracked and various data is stored on the blockchain. The data collection would start from the manufacturing process of the medicine and continue through shipment all the way to when it reaches the hands of the patients.
COVID-19’s Affect on Blockchain
Dan discussed how the pandemic has amplified the need for blockchain adoption. At the start of the pandemic, we used paper booklets to show proof of vaccination. These evolved into digital certificates shown through a mobile application, but in both cases, there have been many instances in which these certificates have been faked. Blockchain can be used to authenticate these certificates, as well as many other data points related to a patient’s health status.
“Blockchain-enabled solutions could also provide additional information concerning the manufacturer, their sustainability practices and the transport conditions of the medicine,” Dan highlighted. Patients can then become more empowered to make informed and safer decisions on what products to use.
Strengthening Supply Chains & Collaboration
Blockchain enables visibility in supply chains, which can help detect low stock in need of replacement. It can also share information about a medicine’s expiration date so it can be used up instead of having to be discarded.
In order for blockchain to be integrated, it has to be done in collaboration with other stakeholders. Dan added, “… that only works if your partners are also integrated to the same or interoperable solution. That is why we need collaboration on using a common network and common data standard.”
Teamwork is a key aspect of the PharmaLedger project. We are working together in a collaborative manner to implement blockchain solutions and build a healthcare ecosystem. Marco ended the interview by adding, “We want this to be an infrastructure that everyone can use, that belongs to everyone with no one to control it and no middleman.”
Marco and Dan also participated in the Pharma IQ Live event at the end of April 2022 with their virtual discussion, “How Can Blockchain Technology Provide a Transparent Single Source of Truth for Proof of Ownership and Integrity?” You can look forward to rewatching this discussion, soon be available on our YouTube channel.