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DHL and Accenture develop blockchain prototype to track medicines

Logistics giant DHL, in collaboration with Accenture, has developed a serialization prototype using blockchain technology to track pharmaceuticals across the supply chain.

The prototype tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer, preventing tampering and errors. The ledger tracking these medicines may be shared with all involved parties – manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors.

“We’ve worked closely with DHL to understand and document the broad impact blockchain will have on supply chains of the future,” adds Andreas Baier, Accenture lead for the travel and transportation industry and DHL client team leader. “Using a common, indelible and secure ledger, the industry can achieve much higher safety standards – from the factory to the patient – at much lower cost. This is one of several opportunities blockchain affords to restructure business processes while reducing cost and complexity.”

The companies have successfully conducted a proof-of-concept (PoC), which showed that it was possible to track and trace of pharmaceutical products from manufacturing to patients, showing potential to eliminate counterfeiting of drugs. Lab-simulations demonstrated how blockchain could handle more than seven billion unique serial numbers and 1,500 transactions per second, according to the official release.

“We see especially exciting potential for blockchain in pharmaceuticals, which is why we focused our proof of concept with Accenture on the life sciences and healthcare industry,” says Keith Turner, CIO Chief Development Office, DHL Supply Chain. “By utilizing the inherent irrefutability within blockchain technologies, we can make great strides in highlighting tampering, reducing the risk of counterfeits and actually saving lives.”

The companies have included the initial findings on a working prototype in a report and said that the prototype is just one of the use cases of blockchain technology. They, however, stressed that “moving from concepts and pilot applications to actually deploying viable solutions will require the technology to be further developed, organizational transformation and a willingness to collaborate between all stakeholders.”

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