Supply chains in which sequential transactions move trackable physical assets through a system represent one way in which pharmaceutical manufacturers, packagers, distributors, wholesalers, dispensers and regulators could more seamlessly share information using a blockchain.
Pilot programs are in the works between major pharmaceutical companies and wholesale distributors to enhance the supply chain with blockchain. Blockchain may offer manufacturers and distributors a potential solution that could address some past challenges, such as concerns about data transfer, privacy and ownership.
Each time a company entered into a transaction with another company in the supply chain, that transaction would be recorded and validated on the blockchain.
This would simplify the transfer of data and allow product recipients to validate their provenance with greater certainty. It would also significantly simplify transaction reconciliations and data transfers.
Blockchain makes it easier to transfer, share and check data automatically, processes that now require numerous (and sometimes manual) handoffs as a product moves through the supply chain.
Regulators and suppliers could benefit as well, with company- or regulator-initiated recalls or warnings instantly recorded to a blockchain, allowing a pharmacy to make sure that a recalled or suspect product wasn’t inadvertently dispensed to a patient.
In this way, blockchain doesn’t have the potential just to transform product movement—it could transform entire business relationships as well.
To read more about blockchain's impact in the supply chain, as well as other case studies and information, please see HRI's latest report, A prescription for blockchain and healthcare: Reinvent or be reinvented.