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Blockchain Technology Transforms the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

26 Oct 2023

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The pharmaceutical supply chain (PSC) is highly complex and challenging. This paper first elaborates on the key challenges in current PSC operations and management. Then, it proposes a blockchain-based framework to improve PSC traceability and visibility and overcome the problems of counterfeiting, cold chain monitoring, sales rechanneling, product shortage, expiration, and recall. By implementing the blockchain-based solution, PSC stakeholders can considerably increase their efficiency in distributing verifiable drugs. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can enhance their product recall management, gain more insights into product stock-out status, and enable a quicker inventory turnaround of products from warehouses with an auto-replenishment function. Healthcare professionals will reduce administration in manual tracking of stocks with the auto-replenishment trigger to minimize out-of-stock inventory while efficiently tracking expired, damaged, and returned products. Zuellig Pharma, one of the largest healthcare services groups in Asia, adopts the proposed framework to develop a commercial track and trace solution, i.e., eZTracker, for PSC with trusted data sharing and exchange capability. eZTracker has been successfully rolled out in several Asia markets. The implementation challenges and learnings of eZTracker are also discussed in the paper.

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