IBM, KPMG, Merck And Walmart Selected By US FDA To Develop Blockchain Network

Blockchain, News | June 14, 2019 By:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a federal agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has chosen IBM, KPMG, Merck and Walmart to create a blockchain network that allows real-time monitoring of pharmaceutical products.

The initiative is part of FDA’s program that explores innovative and emerging approaches for the tracing and verification of prescription products. The program is intended to assist drug supply chain stakeholders, including FDA, in developing the electronic, interoperable system that will identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the United States.

IBM, KPMG, Merck, and Walmart will be collaborating to create a blockchain network that will help reduce the time needed to track and trace inventory; allow timely retrieval of reliable distribution information; increase accuracy of data shared among network members; and help determine the integrity of products in the distribution chain, including whether products are kept at the correct temperature.

“Blockchain could provide an important new approach to further improving trust in the biopharmaceutical supply chain,” said Mark Treshock, IBM Global Solutions Leader for Blockchain in Healthcare & Life Sciences. “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. Blockchain has the potential to transform how pharmaceutical data is controlled, managed, shared and acted upon throughout the lifetime history of a drug.”

Karim Bennis, Walmart’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Implementation, Health and Wellness, said that they believe they have to go further than offering great products that help their customers live better at everyday low prices.

“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,” Bennis said. ”

The pilot project is scheduled to be completed in fourth quarter of this year, and results are expected to be published in an FDA DSCSA program report. At that time, the project’s participants will evaluate next steps.