Blockchain Rx For Drug Supply Chains

Libra may have dominated the news so far this week — and, of course, the new cryptocurrency announced by Facebook is underpinned by blockchain.

But elsewhere, DLT continues to make inroads into tracking items as they move across supply chains.  To that end, the MediLedger project debuted a new pilot program this week, billed as a cross-industry initiative that eyes using blockchain for drug supply chains.

As reported on sites such as, the project announced the pilot program is being sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will help users develop an electronic system to source and trace prescription drugs as they make their way across the United States.

The activities are being coordinated by the San Francisco blockchain technology company known as Chronicled.  The project itself, according to the aforementioned site, is tied to 20 companies that span pharmaceutical manufacturers, repackagers and distributors.

Matt Sample, VP of Manufacturing Operations at AmerisourceBergen, commented in a release that, “the MediLedger pilot’s strength is that it’s a cross-industry effort to explore the use of a blockchain network to enable the interoperability required by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) requirements in 2023. The potential solution is especially viable because it’s open to all participants in the Pharma industry. We’ve been working with Chronicled since 2017 on solving these industry challenges, and we believe that there is potential for great improvement in the prescription drug supply chain.”

Target Targets Blockchain, Too

Blockchain also is gaining traction in retail settings, as evidenced by the news that Target has got the technology in its sights.  CoinDesk reports that the retailing juggernaut has been working on blockchain since the middle of last year, and its efforts look to be tied to supply chain management as well.  That initiative has been termed ConsenSource, according to reports.  The company has also said it would support the Hyperledger Grid project, billed as a supply chain framework that has also had input from Cargill, the food company — also a Target supplier.  Target recently posted open positions related to the ConsenSource, per reports, which noted a blog posting from Joel Crabb, Target’s vice president of architecture, that said, “I’m proud that Target will support the Hyperledger Grid project, and that we’re committing dedicated engineering resources to build out components in the Grid architecture.” The ConsenSource project has been focused on paper manufacturing.

Separately, in news related to finance, Alior Bank, based in Poland, is using the public ethereum blockchain to authenticate client documents.  The verification activities show that documents were issued, and what the exact wording was, as Piotr Adamczyk, blockchain technology head at the bank, explained to Forbes.

“We know exactly in which block of ethereum the document with a given hash is published. If we know the block number, we also know the timestamp […] We know that the document was published some time ago and hasn’t been changed in that time [if the hash stored on the blockchain is identical to the hash calculated from the document], so we can prove it hasn’t been replaced on our servers,” the executive told Forbes.  The move comes after regulators in Poland ruled that website pages are not a “durable medium” for documentation, as they can be changed.



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