Pharma giant looks to blockchain to fight fake drugs

The proposed distributed ledger system will offer integrity verification to increase safety. 

Pharmaceutical company Merck has applied for a patent based on blockchain technology that allows it to verify the authenticity of its products along its supply chain. The newly published patent, which originates from as far back as late 2016 according to reports, outlines how product information could be stored on a distributed network in order to allow confidence in its authenticity.

The system “enables a secure, reliable storage of the reading results with very high data integrity,” the documents on the patent say, “such that it is essentially impossible to manipulate or erase or otherwise tamper with or lose much data.”

“Furthermore,” it continues, “the stored information can be accessed wherever access to the blockchain is available. This allows for a safe and distributed storage and access to the stored reading results, e.g. for integrity verification purposes such as checking whether a supplier of a product being marked with a composite security marking, as described herein, was in fact the originator of the product, or not.”

Merck’s work stands alongside a range of supply chain solutions looking to integrate blockchain technology in a similar way. We have recently, for example looked at system from Alibaba intended to identify fake food, Omnitude’s partnership with high-end caterer Absolute Taste that will allow customer’s to retrace the history of their meal’s ingredients back to the farm they came from (as well as their partnership with Williams F1 to develop software for its blockchain platform that can ensure supply chain and data integrity), and efforts to ensure that coffee is worthy of its premium pricing – something that big companies like Starbucks are now looking into.

They are just a few of the supply-side ecosystems beginning to build upon Blockchain and dApps.