The pharmaceutical industry requires high standards of integrity for its clinical trials. The industry has strict laws and procedures in place to decrease the possibility of misconduct. But these laws and procedures can slow down the process and even disrupt progress. The distributed and tamper-proof blockchain is a possible solution. It can maintain trust while keeping the clinical trial process moving forward with speed.
Perils of Clinical Trials
The complexity of clinical trials is increasing every day. But government regulations require strict control over the process. Pharma companies running the trials need to keep meticulous records and have an auditable paper trail. This increases cost and further slows down the process. With rising costs, the return on investment of clinical trials is decreasing. It can become a disincentive for pharmaceutical companies to pursue innovative solutions.
Blockchain Solution For Pharma
The blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and more. It is a distributed digital ledger with immutable records. This technology can help pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials more efficiently. Here are some important ways it can help:
Patient Control and Trust
Medical records can be secured through the public-private key mechanism of the blockchain. Meticulous records are necessary for clinical trials to avoid shady research. Paxil, the antidepressant drug, was proven safe for teenagers through clinical study fourteen years ago. But a new analysis of the data shows that the conclusion was wrong. In cases like this, it’s necessary to have unquestionable data for verifying the information. Traditional data sharing methods through databases is slow and opaque. Blockchain can make data sharing faster and promote trust through adding better transparency.
The transparency of blockchain can also help promote an ecosystem of collaboration. Researchers can share their findings easily. It might be possible in the future for scientists to add blockchains to their published papers, so everyone in the scientific community is able to verify the data and the analysis. Better collaboration and better verification process will result in higher quality solutions in a shorter period of time.
Automated Record Keeping and Analysis
Blockchain’s smart contract is a useful tool for the clinical trial community to automate record keeping. The smart contracts can help process data and provide automated analysis. It will speed up the data analysis mechanism and decrease the possibility of data manipulation.
Centralized solutions like databases can be a bottleneck in clinical trials. Especially in large-scale trials millions of data points are collected. The decentralized nature of blockchain makes it faster for pharmaceutical companies to collect information without dealing with the traditional database barriers.
Pharmaceutical businesses have to invest in huge infrastructure before they start their clinical trial process. With blockchain, it’s possible to grow the system gradually. Also, there is less need for infrastructure because companies can distribute the workload on the highly-scalable cloud. Less overhead means companies can move faster to the actual trial process instead of spending a lot of time on infrastructure setup.
Pharma clinical trials can take advantage of blockchain-based infrastructure to improve transparency, automate tasks, and lower costs. It will result in faster and more efficient clinical trials that have trust built into the process.
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