On March 12, 2018, DHL, the logistics company, has declared that it has partnered with Accenture, the global consulting and services firm, to build a blockchain-based prototype to help the pharmaceutical industry deal with supply chain tampering of drugs.
DHL and Accenture plan to create a ledger that will track medicines across the whole pharmaceutical supply chain. Then the ledger will be shared among manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors. It will make the whole supply chain more traceable.
The joint venture has already run simulations. According to the initial results, the blockchain prototype could handle seven billion unique serial numbers and 1,500 transactions per second.
Accenture has been actively pursuing blockchain technology. Last year in September, Accenture filed a patent for “editable Blockchain”. The purpose of this new blockchain technology was to ensure that human errors can be remedied and other legal and regulatory obligations can be fulfilled on the blockchain.
Accenture's foray into healthcare industry is not surprising given the potential of blockchain in pharmaceutical. Counterfeit medication causes more than one million deaths each year and Interpol estimates that around 30 percent of emerging world medication is counterfeit. The blockchain prototype created for DHL will be able to track blockchains across six geographic locations.
DHL and Accenture’s pharmaceutical prototype has the potential to lower costs while increasing safety standards. It will increase transparency and traceability of the whole supply chain. However, at the moment, the solution is at the prototype stage. It needs more research and development to make it deployment-ready and create value for larger logistics operations.