The FDA has asked Merck to team up with IBM, KPMG and Walmart to put together a new pilot program testing whether blockchain can help regulators track and trace prescription drugs along the increasingly complex supply chain.
“Blockchain has the potential to transform how pharmaceutical data is controlled, managed, shared and acted upon throughout the lifetime history of a drug,” IBM executive Mark Treshock said.
Blockchain, or distributed ledgers, are private networks where members share permissions, but every transaction is recorded, permanently, and unique identifiers assigned for anyone making changes. Each blockchain member holds a copy of the complete ledger. The technology is already working wonders in speeding up manufacturing processes in other areas, but the drug industry has lagged behind.