DHL and Accenture working on blockchain-based pharma supply chain project

By James Henderson
DHL and Accenture have released initial findings on a jointly-developed working prototype which tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the c...

DHL and Accenture have released initial findings on a jointly-developed working prototype which tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer, preventing tampering and errors.

DHL and Accenture created a blockchain-based serialisation prototype with nodes in six geographies to track pharmaceuticals across the supply chain.

The ledger tracking these medicines may be shared with stakeholders, including manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors. Lab-simulations show how blockchain could handle more than seven billion unique serial numbers and 1,500 transactions per second.

As many as one million lives are lost each year due to counterfeit medications, according to Interpol, and it is estimated that up to 30% of pharmaceutical products sold in emerging markets are counterfeit.

“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.

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“By utilising the inherent irrefutability within blockchain technologies, we can make great strides in highlighting tampering, reducing the risk of counterfeits and actually saving lives.”

Andreas Baier, Accenture lead for the travel and transportation industry and DHL client team leader, commented: “We’ve worked closely with DHL to understand and document the broad impact blockchain will have on supply chains of the future,” adds

“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.”

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), global spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to reach $2.1bn in 2018, more than double the $945mn spent in 2017. In 2021 annual spending is expected to reach $9.7bn.

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