Blockchain is being called the hottest thing in business right now.
You may know it from the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but it's since expanded much further than that. Just about every industry is interested in how it can be applied to their work. The energy and financial sectors especially are major industries that are already using this technology.
But did you know that pharma manufacturers are actually the most likely to move ahead with using blockchain in the near future?
Especially if you're not familiar with the concept, it can be hard to visualize or understand how it can be used. However, there are use cases in the industry that many companies are acting on.
So how can the pharmaceutical industry benefit? Keep reading to find out five uses of the blockchain in pharma manufacturing.
1. Supply Chain Integrity
If you work in pharmaceuticals, you know it's a complex industry. There are billions invested in developing new drugs, then getting them approved and distributed. Additionally, there are the watchdog agencies looking over companies' shoulders.
After all of this investment, you pass on your products to other "links" in the supply chain. There are repackagers, hospitals, wholesalers, and pharmacies. Throughout this process, there's no way to trace or detect counterfeit products.
Blockchain is an electronic ledger that records transactions chronologically. Its ideal use in the pharma supply chain is to have a public ledger of products and transactions. Every single link or user in the chain will know exactly what, when, where, and how.
Old-style centralized solutions are expensive due to the large data sets in the industry. With the numbers that most pharma manufacturers work with, blockchain is a cheaper, cost-effective option.
2. Inventory Management
The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry can greatly benefit from using blockchain for managing inventory. The current problem faced by the industry is efficiently anticipating the demand for pharmaceuticals.
Supply chain managers try, but there's no perfect way to know demand. This is because it's based on being able to have a snapshot of the supply chain.
A system that's based on blockchain means manufacturers can know and anticipate when demand will rise. This leads to better management of the inventory, shorter hold periods, and more profit. The products flow more efficiently and money is saved.
Blockchain technology's main features are being able to track and trace. The visibility into inventory that it provides will become invaluable. Even more so when as both the pharma company and its inventory gets larger and larger.
3. Drug Safety in Pharma Manufacturing
As said above, pharma manufacturers suffer from not having visibility. This is especially apparent when it comes to being able -- or not being able -- to authenticate products.
The modern drug distribution chain is a large, complex process. So far, there's not been a large-scale adaptation of digital technologies and systems to secure that process. Unlike industries like finance, the drugs industry is lagging behind on using blockchain technology for tracing and security.
Before a drug actually reaches a patient, there are many transfer points where ownership changes. This makes it easy for inauthentic products to slip into the chain. There are a number of ways that blockchain can be used to combat this.
For example, a drug could be fitted with a barcode. When it changes hands, it's scanned and entered into the blockchain. This way a secure digital block that can't be tampered with is visible to manufacturers.
Even patients themselves can authenticate and track the progress of their drugs. Authorised bodies like doctors can as well. The record that blockchain creates is an irrefutable, real-time snapshot of the journey.
5. Public Safety
Blockchain's real-time aspect is a major positive feature of the technology. It can be used to increase public safety by being an efficient delivery system for safe medicines to consumers. Manufacturers can give retailers such as pharmacies the ability to track products as they move.
The pharma industry sometimes suffers from a lack of public trust. Using blockchain to transform the pharma supply chain can impact the entire consumer population for the better. Communities and patients can be provided with a transparent process that keeps them safe.
Recalls are another major area that can benefit from this technology. They can be expensive and cause bad publicity for manufacturers. However, companies can use blockchain to manage recalls efficiently and quickly.
The public will be informed and there's less room for errors.
Blockchain for the Pharma Manufacturing Industry
Blockchain has gone through a period of testing and now many industries are ready to put it into practice. Hopefully, at least one of these use cases is relevant to you or has sparked some ideas on how to use blockchain. It's expected that all major pharma manufacturing companies will start to use it in some way in the near future.
We develop software for any proposed blockchain application you can think of. We can offer you new ideas and business opportunities to help you utilize this groundbreaking technology. Have a look at our blockchain solutions now to see how they can take your pharma company to the next level.