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Pharma Giant Merck Eyes Blockchain for Fighting Counterfeit Meds

“Merck is applying for a patent that uses blockchain technology to track drug information in the supply chain.”

Pharmaceuticals giant Merck is applying for a patent that aims to use blockchain technology to track goods information in the supply chain.

The patent was formally submitted in December 2016 and was released on last Thursday. It outlines a method by which a blockchain could be used to store information about a physical object –in this case, a single product –and receive updates as it moves onward from its point of origin. This distributed networks can be used to store information verifying the authenticity of entity objects.

In other words, the main point here is anti-counterfeiting. Merck already established an internal process to eliminate fake goods in the supply chain. And now they prefer to use blockchain technology to optimize the entire process.

Merck mentions that the technology “enables a secure, reliable storage of the reading results with very high data integrity, such that it is essentially impossible to manipulate or erase or otherwise taper [sic] with or lose such data, e.g. due to unintended or deliberate deletion or due to data corruption.”

The company goes on to explain:

“Furthermore, the stored information can be accessed wherever access to the blockchain is available. This allows for a safe and distributed storage and access to the stored reading results, e.g. for integrity verification purposes such as checking whether a supplier of a product being marked with a composite security marking, as described herein, was in fact the originator of the product, or not.”

The company has implemented a number of initiatives in the technology field, whether Merck will move to “put pills on the blockchain” remains to be seen.

In addition, the company is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and acts as a corporate representative, leading the group’s healthcare working group.

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