India Set To Tackle Drug Problem through Blockchain Technology
Niti Aayog, National Institute for Transforming India, is exploring the possibilities of using blockchain technology for tracking drug inventory, btcmanager.com reported. A report published in Factor Daily Report on April 9, 2018, suggests that the Indian authority wants to track down the production of illegal medicine production and sales through the blockchain technology.
The report states that the government “wants to complete a proof of concept (PoC) solution by the end of the year and begin implementation by 2019.”
Currently, India is the largest producer of pharma drugs, and local companies initiate 20 percent of the total annual sales of generic medicine sales in the global market. The Indian pharmaceutical market is majorly divided into research molecules and branded generics. Due to a molecular composition, general medicine is used by more than one manufacturer.
After the composition is registered under the trademark of a manufacturer, it becomes a branded generic. On the other hand, several years of research produces some molecules that become the exclusive entity of a manufacturer until the patent is issued.
Just like other patents, after its expiration, other manufacturers are free to use similar or same composition to produce the drug. As a result, many pharmaceutical companies have emerged which solely produce branded generics.
Amidst the crowd of new pharmaceutical companies, smaller manufacturers have come up which produce fake drugs that do not meet the safety norms. Baddi, situated in Northern Himachal Pradesh is the hub of Indian Pharmaceutical industry and many unauthorized manufacturers.
In relation to the widespread fake drug problem in India, an official from the Niti Ayog said, “We are all taking those (fake) medicines, and I am sure people are dying. One way to reduce that is put the entire supply chain on the blockchain.”
Assocham, The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India, estimated that one out of every five drugs sold in the country is either fake, has not cleared clinical trial or does not meet the industry standards. It also claimed that only 0.05 to 0.03 percent of drugs are copies.
The council has come up with a fresh set of rules that state that the new drugs will have a two- dimensional barcode assisted by the blockchain technology. Thus, unauthorized manufactures will not be able to imitate the date of manufacture, batch number, and detail of manufacturing plant. Furthermore, the authorities will be able to track down the drug throughout the marketing and distribution process.
Secretary-General of industry lobbying body, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, D.G Shah, said, “If the government is willing to consider it that it is an additional cost and compensate it, the industry will have no objection.”
In similar news, scroll.in stated that government of Andhra Pradesh, a southern state, is planning to use the blockchain technology to collect DNA data of 50 million citizens.
If the government is able to successfully launch its idea then fake drug production will become a thing of the past. As of now, the government has not faced any resistance from any organization or individual.