drug supply chain (LeoWolfert/Shutterstock.com)

FDA explores blockchain to secure drug supply chain

The Food and Drug Administration has launched a pilot program to create an electronic, interoperable system to follow certain prescription drugs through the supply chain. The agency is looking for emerging technologies, such as blockchain, that will help with the development of an interoperable track-and-trace system set to go into effect in 2023 as part of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act.

The agency is seeking to create a system that provides a step-by-step account of where a drug has been sold and who has handled it; a product verification mechanism to ensure the legitimacy of drug products; and a way to ensure that any party involved in handling the drugs has the ability to spot, quarantine and investigate any suspect drug. The new system aims to reduce the diversion of drugs distributed domestically and will help keep counterfeit drugs out of the supply chain.

The FDA has recruited Frank Yiannas, a former vice president of food safety at Walmart, to lead the pilot program.

The FDA has experimented with blockchain technology for sharing oncology-related health data and facilitating health information sharing among the FDA, health care providers and hospitals.

More information on the pilot can be found in the Federal Register. Reponses are due March 11.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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