An Indian government think tank is working on a blockchain solution in order to combat the country’s significant counterfeit drugs trade.
According to local news source Factor Daily, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), wants to have a proof-of-concept (PoC) of the solution completed by the end of 2018 and begin rolling it out next year.
As stated by an anonymous NITI Aayog official “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.”
In fact, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, India produces 35 percent of counterfeit drugs that are sold globally. Also, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), mentions that approximately “60-70 percent of dietary supplements being sold across India are fake, counterfeit, unregistered and unapproved.”
As explained the NITI Aayog official, the think tank aims to solve this issue by generating a unique ID number for each medicine, which will be tracked through the supply chain on a blockchain. With the system, a consumer or business can access the history and source of the drug by scanning a QR code or barcode on the medicine.
The project is also supported by the country’s pharmaceutical industry, despite some cost concerns.
Dilip G. Shah, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a lobby group, said: “Fake drugs are a concern and, if blockchain can help the industry get rid of the problem, we are up for it.”