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17 June 2019Americas

FDA selects Merck, IBM, KPMG and Walmart for blockchain pilot

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has chosen Merck & Co, IBM, KPMG, and Walmart to form a pilot project aimed at evaluating the use of blockchain to protect pharmaceutical product integrity.

Announced on Thursday, June 13, the collaboration will see the companies develop an electronic, interoperable system that will identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the US.

The project has been authorised under the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), an act which increases the FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from exposure to counterfeit, stolen, contaminated or otherwise harmful drugs.

Karim Bennis, Walmart’s vice president of strategic planning and implementation, health and wellness, said: “With successful blockchain pilots in pork, mangoes and leafy greens that provide enhanced traceability, we are looking forward to the same success and transparency in the biopharmaceutical supply chain.”

The shared blockchain network will allow real-time monitoring of products. Designed to establish a permanent record, blockchain may be integrated with existing supply chain and traceability systems.

Mark Treshock, IBM global solutions leader for blockchain in healthcare and life sciences, added: “We believe this is an ideal use for the technology because it can not only provide an audit trail that tracks drugs within the supply chain; it can track who has shared data and with whom, without revealing the data itself.”

The pilot project is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, and results are expected to be published in an FDA DSCSA programme report.

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