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Walmart joins Pfizer and others in blockchain-based pharmaceutical network ‘MediLedger’

Mon, 03 Jun 2019, 10:58 am UTC

Retail giant Walmart is the latest to join MediLedger, a blockchain-based pharmaceutical industry network, a company spokesperson told CoinDesk.

The announcement comes on the heels of Pfizer, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and Premier joining the initiative last month.

The MediLedger project was launched by San Francisco-based blockchain startup Chronicled in 2017. It is focused on building an industry-owned permissioned blockchain network for the pharmaceutical sector based on open standards and specifications.

MediLedger has been built using “an enterprise version of the ethererum blockchain, built with a modified version of the Parity client” and a consensus mechanism called “Proof of Authority”, CoinDesk stated.

Walmart, which is already participating in IBM’s Food Trust, is joining MediLedger ahead of a pilot project with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), slated to commence this month.

Earlier this year, the FDA announced a Pilot Project Program under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), which aims to create a digital, interoperable system for tracking and verifying prescription drugs in the United States.

“The pilots only really make sense if you are working with a group of collaborators,” Eric Garvin, co-lead of MediLedger, told CoinDesk.

Effective November 27th, 2019, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry will be bound by new regulations set out by the DSCSA that aim to curb the resale of fraudulent products. It would require wholesalers to verify prescription drugs that are returned and intended for resale.

According to an update on the MediLedger website, the network is going live in October 2019 with a solution for Saleable Returns, which will “enable sub-second responses between wholesalers and manufacturers.”

The blockchain consortium will reportedly begin work on a more comprehensive tracking of all pharmaceutical products involving interoperable data and packaging serialization.

Earlier this year, SAP launched a blockchain-based solution that helps to track and authenticate pharmaceutical packaging returned from hospitals and pharmacies to wholesalers before products are resold. The solution, it said, will help ensure compliance with the DSCSA.

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