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Business & Regulation Contract Manufacturing Services, Supply Chain, Standards & Regulation

(Block)chain Reaction

In my view, one of the most exciting aspects of blockchain is its potential to revolutionize the way the pharmaceutical industry exchanges data. Electronic medical records, clinical trial management, supply chain, and scientific data sharing could all benefit from a distributed blockchain system, where data is managed by a cluster of computers, rather than any single entity.

One example of blockchain’s applicability in the pharma industry is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) Saleable Returns Verification requirement in the US. By November 27, 2019, when a pharmacy returns a product, the distributor will be required to verify that the serial number on the bottle is the same as the serial number the manufacturer applied to the package, before it can be restocked and resold. In today’s environment, the distributor would have to connect with a manufacturer on a one-to-one basis. I work on behalf of AmerisourceBergen, which works with 450-plus pharmaceutical manufacturers. With our existing systems, the new requirement would mean taking the serialized bottle from a pharmacy, scanning it to assess which manufacturer it belongs to, and then asking them whether the serial number is valid – for 15 million units. A mammoth task!

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About the Author

Heather Zenk

Senior Vice President of Global Secure Supply Chain Operations, AmerisourceBergen, USA.

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