According to the Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, blockchain technology should be used for an open scheme for the pharmaceuticals industry. The new supply chain open pilot will focus on improving supply chains in the pharmaceutical industry, as announced in a notice published last Friday, February 8.
According to the announcement, the program is dubbed the Pilot Project Program Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA Pilot Project Program). It aims to help the FDA and members of the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain in the development of electronic systems, which will then work to identify and trace the distribution of specific prescription drugs within the US. The FDA will accept applications for the pilot program by March 11.
The primary aim of the DSCSA pilot program is to develop a digital supply chain platform that would help track drugs and prevent counterfeiting, with the platform expected to start operating in 2023. Though there is no official confirmation yet, analogs of such supply chain platforms make use of blockchain technology to improve the traditional delivery systems.
In an accompanying press release, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “We (FDA) are invested in exploring new ways to improve traceability, in some cases using the same technologies that can enhance drug supply chain security, like the use of blockchain.”
The DSCSA was signed into law back in 2013, and it is an act that lists the steps involved in building an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs. According to the FDA, enhanced verification and tracing in the supply chain will enable them to respond rapidly when an illegitimate product is discovered. The FDA did not mention the size or scope of the pilot, nor did it hint at the industry participants who had expressed interest in the program.
Platforms such as IBM and Maersk’s TradeLens are already using blockchain technology to boost transparency of supply chains. Last month, the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) joined the blockchain platform developed by IBM and Maersk. IBM also announced two projects that will use the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain platform to fight against child labor.
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