Blockchain could help fight drug counterfeiting

The National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CANIFARMA) reports that around 8 million people buy stolen or counterfeit medicines.

Drug counterfeiting generates $1.5 billion in profits on the black market annually.

This activity is not only illegal but also puts people’s health at risk. Along with other variants such as theft and smuggling, they are high-impact crimes that also put the health of millions of people at risk.

While the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation due to the great shortage of active ingredients, the decrease in drug inventories and the economic difficulties that affected several regions. This combination of factors has contributed to the rapid growth of an illegal market that yields juicy profits. Worldwide, there is a continuous increase in the sale of counterfeit drugs. It is estimated that drug counterfeiting generates profits close to $1.5 billion annually.

In Mexico things are no different. The National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CANIFARMA) reports that around 8 million people buy stolen or counterfeit medicines. That is why alerts are constantly issued for oncological drugs, antihypertensives, antibiotics, antiretrovirals and vaccines, among many others.

The role of new technologies

Traceability, which allows a detailed follow-up of its journey from start to finish, is a process that takes advantage of innovations such as blockchain, or chain of blocks, which has been successfully applied in the pharmaceutical sector, thanks largely to its ability to radically change business models and enhance interoperability between systems. In this way, it is possible to integrate a large volume of information and guarantee that it cannot be altered and offers high levels of transparency and auditability, critical factors for the production and distribution of medicines. In addition to processes and technology, traceability is supported by organizational culture and regulations. This last component is essential because it will establish the rules of the game to which the pharmaceutical industry and public health agencies will have to adhere, and which are constantly evolving.

Source: Saludiario.

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