IBM, KPMG, Merck and Walmart to collaborate as part of FDA’s program to evaluate the use of blockchain to protect pharmaceutical product integrity

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IBM, KPMG, Merck and Walmart to collaborate as part of FDA’s program to evaluate the use of blockchain to protect pharmaceutical product integrity
The FDA pilot program explores innovative and emerging approaches for the tracing and verification of prescription products
ARMONK, N.Y., NEW YORK, KENILWORTH, N.J., and BENTONVILLE, Ark., June 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM), KPMG, Merck (NYSE: MRK), and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) today announced that the companies have been selected by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be included in a program in support of the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) that addresses requirements to identify, track and trace prescription medicines and vaccines distributed within the United States.

The program is intended to assist drug supply chain stakeholders, including FDA, in developing the electronic, interoperable system that will identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the United States.

“Our supply chain strategy, planning and logistics are built around the customers and patients we serve,” said Craig Kennedy, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, at Merck, which is known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada. “Reliable and verifiable supply helps improve confidence among all the stakeholders—especially patients—while also strengthening the foundation of our business.”

Each company brings unique expertise to the project, which will create a shared permissioned blockchain network that allows real-time monitoring of products. The proposed network is intended to help reduce the time needed to track and trace inventory; allow timely retrieval of reliable distribution information; increase accuracy of data shared among network members; and help determine the integrity of products in the distribution chain, including whether products are kept at the correct temperature.

“With successful Blockchain pilots in pork, mangoes and leafy greens that provide enhanced traceability, we are looking forward to the same success and transparency in the biopharmaceutical supply chain,” said Karim Bennis, Walmart’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Implementation, Health and Wellness. “We believe we have to go further than offering great products that help our customers live better at everyday low prices. Our customers also need to know they can trust us to help ensure products are safe. This pilot and U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act requirements will help us do just that.”

Blockchain is designed to establish a permanent record and may be integrated with existing supply chain and traceability systems…