Get the full recap of PharmaLedger’s participation in our third European Blockchain Convention in December 2021.
The European Blockchain Convention virtual 2021 edition featured thirty panel discussions and was filled with workshops, one-on-one meetings and presentations. The event brought together over 2500 key players and those involved in the industry and 120 speakers to discuss various blockchain topics. EBC became PharmaLedger’s dissemination partner in 2020 and this is our third time participating in their event.
The three-day EBC event took started on the 13th of December, 2021, and a number of our partners participated in two discussions as a part of our very own PharmaLedger track. One of our partners also attended a third panel discussion involving healthcare accessibility. We kindly invite you to rewatch these three telling recordings from the virtual EBC event and you can read our short recap below.
PharmaLedger: Bringing Clinical Trials into the New Age with Blockchain
Moderator: Fuse Blockchain Workgroup Co-Lead Disa Lee Choun (Janssen)
Speakers: Co-Lead of the eConsent Use Case Baldwin Mak (Boehringer Ingelheim), Clinical Trials Use Case Participant Stephen Leiper (Onorach), Clinical Supply Chain Use Case Co-Lead Francesco Spoto (Novartis), Clinical Supply MVP Kristina Livitckaia (CERTH)
Disa introduced our three-year PharmaLedger project, which is a consortium consisting of 29 partners that are building a scalable and sustainable blockchain-based platform. Stephen then introduced our eight use cases falling under three domains: health data, clinical trials and supply chain.
Baldwin talked about the eConsent use case and how it can help tackle some of the current issues such as non-compliance, consistency of data and manual checks. Blockchain can increase the level of transparency and data integrity for all stakeholders part of clinical trials. Our vision is to provide digital solutions for clinical trials conducted by leveraging the status of the informed consent on a blockchain, and by doing so, enabling automation of processes, like data collection and use of that data.
An audience member asked about the value derived from the pharmaceutical industries coming together for the PharmaLedger project. Some of the answers given mentioned that the benefits include sharing risk and costs during the discovery phase of the project. Another benefit being that driving the adoption from the very beginning creates common standards and a common objective in the collaboration. A consortium approach also allows the sharing of lessons learned.
In terms of adoption, Kristina reported some findings from surveyed professions, which revealed that some blocking points to blockchain adoption include policy considerations, adoption by end-users and lack of knowledge or training. Disa agreed that creating awareness is the starting point. That’s what PharmaLedger is trying to do – inform others and show the potential value of blockchain in healthcare.
Another question asked how all of this benefits the patients. Stephen explained that there is increased truth, trust and transparency. Decentralising clinical trials and remote monitoring also has been becoming more popular recently, and blockchain can help with the missing piece of trust in this, said Baldwin. Make sure to rewatch the recording to relive the entire discussion from the virtual EBC event.
PharmaLedger’s Journey Towards a Digital Trust Ecosystem
Moderator: Lead Coordinator and Project Manager Maria Eugenia (Xenia) Beltrán (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
Speakers: Industry Lead Daniel Fritz (Novartis), Architecture & Reference Implementation Co-Lead Marco Cuomo (Novartis), eConsent Use Case Co-Lead Hernando Giraldo (Boehringer Ingelheim)
This second PharmaLedger Track panel started with an introduction to our PharmaLedger project (similar information is mentioned in the first panel discussion summary above). In addition to proving the value of the eight use cases, PharmaLedger is building awareness and educating others about the benefits of blockchain in healthcare. We are also working on the regulatory, legal and data privacy aspects, and governance workpackage to ensure sustainability in our collaborative approach.
The three domains were covered in the discussion as well, and Hernando highlighted how the patient journey is evolving to become more patient-centric. This means that we are learning what patients want to hear and see from trials instead of telling them how it can or cannot be conducted. The work behind PharmaLedger and Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is very innovative and is helping to mould and shape the future of clinical trials.
Marco talked about PharmaLedger’s goal of creating a digitally trusted ecosystem integrated with a backbone of a blockchain-based platform and some of the technical features behind it. Blockchain helps to build a decentralised ecosystem with equal participation from those using it and can help increase patient involvement by better connecting them throughout the entire healthcare process.
Blockchain’s impact on healthcare is in progress and its impact is hard to foresee completely since it’s all very new, Hernando added. The PharmaLedger consortium is helping to shape these conversations and shape the future of blockchain’s transformation of current processes.
Although the healthcare industry is competitive, the collaborative partners in PharmaLedger are joining forces to work together to make powerful changes. This has changed how larger companies work together, and the power of collaboration extends to other organisations, such as EBC.
How Blockchain Can Make Safe Healthcare more Accessible
Moderator: Allison Percival (Merck)
Speakers: Heather Leigh Flannery (ConsenSys Health), Daniel Laverick (Zuellig Pharma), PharmaLedger’s Finished Goods Traceability Use Case Co-Lead Jan Wortman (Bayer)
Although not an official PharmaLedger Track panel discussion, PharmaLedger Finished Goods Traceability Use Case Co-Lead Jan Wortman (Bayer) participated in this discussion involving blockchain and accessible healthcare. Blockchain can help tackle counterfeit medicines and damaged products due to heat exposure thanks to its possibility to track and trace products. Blockchain’s ability to provide end-to-end visibility of products is an opportunity to safeguard patient health and better connect the healthcare ecosystem.
Jan stated that on the logistics side, as a drug maker, the fundamental interest is in designing and developing drugs more efficiently and faster while also being more connected with patients. There is potential to involve patients in clinical trials thanks to electronic consent (eConsent). Patients would have better control over their health data and they would be able to share it with clinical trials more effectively.
A question was asked about how to drive blockchain forward. There needs to be a mind shift taken into effect to have patients share their data and have it in their interest. Another barrier to adoption highlighted by the speakers was that there would have to be a new legal entity structure constructed for the new class of infrastructure with no ownership. There are many structural, cultural, legal, capital, etc. barriers to address.
Jan added that there is a question of the capitalisation of these new blockchain processes, the governance and sustainability of it, as well as the benefits of participation. If patients give data, what do they get back?
Blockchain can help empower patients by granting them better control over data as they become more involved in the healthcare system. Health data assets in the future will include the data subject, but currently, all of this is still evolving. It’ll be exciting to see how blockchain in healthcare will evolve in the next few years.
You can also read EBC’s article summarising this discussion here.
We look forward to our participation in EBC’s next event in Barcelona in June 2022. Make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter below to find out more about it and any updates about our PharmaLedger project.