Blockchain is often touted as a viable solution to global supply chain problems, and Fantom’s Smart Medicine pilot has added further weight to that notion. The blockchain-based project has seen the startup partner with several pharmaceutical distributors to introduce immutable label certification in Afghanistan’s drug supply chain, with the country’s Ministry of Public Health involvement as well.
Introducing Integrity to the Healthcare System
A war-torn nation of 37 million, Afghanistan has long grappled with the problem of counterfeit and expired drugs entering the supply chain. To make matters worse, the Medicine Importers Union last year determined that 40% of medicine and medical equipment enters the country illegally.
Having teamed up with leading distributors and producers such as Bliss GVS, Royal Star and Nabros Pharma, Fantom is stepping in to create a tamper-proof audit trail to ensure products are not compromised at any stage of the distribution.
By recording data related to 80,000 products using its Opera mainnet, Fantom will help Afghan health officials track the provenance of pharmaceuticals and monitor the entire supply chain from root to fruit. The move will also help the Ministry of Health bring transparency and accountability to the country’s embattled healthcare sector.
In all, Fantom’s blockchain-based shipping labels will contain eleven separate data points, with the authenticity of product information verifiable using the public blockchain.
“We’re delighted to be advancing this vital project to the next stage,” said Fantom CIO Michael Kong. “With the assistance of Royal Star, Nabros Pharma and Bliss GVS, we will ensure the authenticity of pharmaceuticals and make an important contribution to the country’s healthcare system.”
According to the press release, the partnership was facilitated with the assistance of SKchain, a blockchain consulting firm.
Governments are Busily Exploring Blockchain
The Afghan government’s interest in blockchain is hardly unique. Throughout the world, national authorities are toying with the idea of implementing distributed ledger technology into their systems. In Austria, for example, a new COVID-19 prevention research project has tabbed the Ardor blockchain to secure communication and data exchange between citizens, government agencies and other authorities.
The recipient of a €60,000 government grant, the QualiSig project will use Ardor to verify the identities of door-to-door testing personnel, in a bid to combat fraud. It will also securely store COVID-19 testing reports on users’ smartphones or personal computers.
The World Economic Forum, meanwhile, is leading a multi-stakeholder team to investigate blockchain’s anti-corruption potential, anchored in the use case of public procurement. The Office of the Inspector General of Colombia is involved, as is the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with discussions centered on a blockchain-based platform that eliminates corruption in vendor selection in the public procurement process.
As Fantom makes great strides in Afghanistan, MediLedger is working on a similar concept in America – namely applying blockchain tech to the tracking and verification of pharmaceuticals. In February, the firm released a pilot report detailing ways in which blockchain “can meet the 2023 Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) requirements for an interoperable, confidential change of ownership system within the pharmaceutical supply chain.” Among the 25 pharmaceutical companies enrolled in the program were industry giants GSK and Pfizer.