Talking tech since 2003

If you’re human, you’ve probably binged Netflix’s masterpiece Narcos, so you probably know that drug trafficking is a huge issue in today’s world. Did you know that fake drug trafficking is a menace all its own? It’s one of the biggest crises facing human health. UK-based FarmaTrust is battling the fake drug crisis by perfecting track-and-trace of medicines by moving the pharmaceutical supply chain to blockchain technology.

The trade of counterfeit drugs is said to be the largest fraud market in the world. According to the World Health Organization, revenue from counterfeit drugs is around $200 billion, which is about 10-15% of worldwide pharmaceutical trade. Fake drugs endanger human lives by not providing patients with the medicinal properties and treatments they believe they are receiving by taking a medication, and introduce new problems with their additives and toxins. Fake drugs lead to thousands of accidental deaths each year, especially among vulnerable populations. It’s estimated that 30% of all of the medicines in Ghana are fake!

FarmaTrust offers a solution to this enormous problem by providing track-and-trace services via blockchain technology, ensuring a drug’s authenticity from the manufacturing floor to the end consumer. Since blockchain records are public and immutable, sealed drug packages and their provenance can be traced from start to finish without tampering.

This year, FarmaTrust signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Peterson Projects and Solutions Thailand to create more sustainable supply chains across Asia, which will include sourcing and tracing Thailand’s medicinal cannabis industry and the poppy straw trade from Afghanistan. In this way, FarmaTrust can safeguard industries that are especially vulnerable to abuse.

“We’re very excited about this agreement with Peterson, their experience and contacts in the Asia region will help rapid deployment of our cost effective solution and also takes us into the raw materials required by the pharmaceutical industry,” said Raja Sharif, CEO of FarmaTrust.  “For us, this is the next step in helping to create a fully transparent drug supply chain. By partnering with Peterson, we will harness their expertise in Asia to create safe, transparent, and high quality supply chains to eliminate counterfeit drugs. The ultimate goal is to save lives using blockchain technology and to help Peterson and their supply partners meet their legal requirements and coordinate efficiently.”

FarmaTrust also recently teamed up with the Mongolian government to eliminate fake drugs within the country. The MoU begins with administering feasibility reports, monitoring federal activity around pharmaceuticals, and inspecting drug supply chains, storage facilities, and retailers.

“The project will display FarmaTrust’s ability not only as a primary blockchain company, but an entity that can work on a consultancy basis at country level,” Sharif said.

Of course, to really see the effects of what a blockchain-backed pharma supply chain could do for human health, it’s going to require massive buy-in from governments, pharmaceutical companies, international trade bodies, and medicine retailers. This partnership in Mongolia has a lot to prove in terms of if the ultimate benefits FarmaTrust could offer are within reach.

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