How Blockchain is Changing the Pharmaceutical Industry
Updated: Jan 4
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the first to adapt to new technologies like the cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain. Blockchain security is a compelling argument and attractive to the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma relies heavily on security and drug safety.
The Blockchain resides on thousands of nodes or devices; every transaction has consciences and is secured. Hackers would have to hack into each of the devices or nodes on the network individually. This task would be impossible to achieve, even with algorithms that would automate this process.
Here are some of the ways the Blockchain is helping the pharmaceutical industry.
Sending sensitive documents security has been a problem since the internet was created. Using cloud technology has helped solve some of the security issues. The Blockchain makes it easy to store data and send documents using the blockchain ledgers that register every transaction and cannot be changed; there is far less chance of cybercrime being committed.
Supply chain logistics
From the research and development to the shipping, every step of the pharmaceutical process requires a great deal of scrutiny and visibility. Incompatible computer software and a lack of clarity in shipping lead to many problems. These problems can be resolved using Blockchain since the ledger transparent and visible from every step of the way. Since the Blockchain is decentralized, many intermediaries that insert themselves into the process are eliminated, saving time, and even more money.
The Blockchain is disrupting drug manufacturing. The traceability of compounds used in drug manufacturing and drug research makes the supply chain more traceable. The manufacturing process becomes transparent, and the traceability can prevent administering the wrong prescriptions to patients. The supply chain can identify the point of manufacture and is transparent, so there is nothing lost in translation in the drug productions.
Clinical trial management
Managing all the data collected for different clinical trial studies for the drugs, a pharmaceutical company has a logistical nightmare. The data is complex, and the Blockchain's need for accurate results is the obvious choice to manage this system. The digital ledger can identify and validate many of the studies' different phases in greater detail than ever before.
Blockchain technology will also facilitate the advancement of next-generation therapies. The logistics involved in cell therapy production are overly complicated and require a chain of identity assurance. There is already one drug approved by the FDA: Spritam® for the treatment of epilepsy as approved for use in 2015. This approach to drug manufacturing made it more practical, and better systems are needed for managing production and data from patients.
Blockchain, Smart Contracts, and Data Science using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms are used to manage and analyze data to determine dosage and formulation for a given patient treatment.
IP and Tech Transfer
Technology transfer from academia to the industry is challenged. It is challenging to identify new opportunities and applications for this drug research; establishing a chain of title can be nearly impossible. When research scientists collaborated with other universities, companies, and private research labs, using Blockchain-based platforms to manage early-stage technology, research and development will resolve most of these problems. The Blockchain, with its leger and smart contracts, are ideal for tracking the work performed across a decentralized network. Investors will use the Blockchain to identify the owners of a given technology and establish permanent records of any deals they implement.
Blockchain technology allows the implementation of a smart contract without human involvement once the underlying binding contract has been coded. For the use of intellectual property protection, these smart contracts would allow enforcing IP agreements, such as license agreements and management payment for licensing holders.
The security and transparency of blockchains provide a digital means for maintaining evidence of the origin of innovation and ensuring trade secrets, such as manufacturing process details.
Managing Patient Data
Blockchain technology will facilitate patient data management across all providers using Blockchain Technologies. Using a unique identifier will securely track a patient using audit trails using the blockchain ledger across the entire healthcare system and maintaining patient privacy.
The patients will control the use, and the authorization of their private data significantly reduces administrative costs. Cooperation between all parties would be required.
We are building new cloud technologies infrastructure to support data sharing across networks and devices to support data tracking across the pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chain.
The use of Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science solutions will improve supply chain security, facilitating clinical trials, and increasing patient data management efficiency is clear. Adopting these technologies will have some challenges, and a level of risk of data breaches or system failures cannot be eliminated or ignored.
The cost and time to implement new blockchain solutions are not insignificant. Besides, the pharmaceutical industry is cautious by nature. There is a hesitancy to make significant changes to their business to how data is stored and managed because of patient data. These organizations may be slow to adopt blockchain technologies simply because of concerns about meeting regulatory requirements regarding patient privacy protection.