Green pill, Red pill or a simple plain white Paracetamol Pill – to swallow that pill is an exercise in trust. Blockchain technology is a great candidate when trust is in question, as Blockchain technology is by the far the most robust automated system known to mankind when it comes to keeping records with trust that is distributed with every stakeholder involved in the process.
Sometimes the problems come first, sometimes the solutions come first. Blockchain is one of the rare cases, when the solution came first much before the problems. We just have to find the right problem to solve. – author
Looking back at the paragraphs above and reading them more than once, we can realize that Pharma industry might just be the industry that needs such a technology, more than the automobile or packed foods industry. Here is why it makes sense to put blockchain technology to use for Pharma supply chains.
Globalization means Distributed Manufacturing
Distributed manufacturing often means that there are more moving parts in the manufacturing. The active ingredient comes from say, Venezuela, the calcium carbonate fillers are sourced from China, the pill is minted in India and post-packaging, the pills are distributed around the world.
The final consumer sees the pill as one single unit, unaware of the moving parts that went into making it. The regulatory authorities like the FDA make sure that the consumer doesn’t have to worry about the moving parts or the ingredients. But this is not even close to the problem that we are discussing in this post.
The problems are of the present are menial for the blockchain technology. The Problems of the future are juicier.
What happens when 3D Printing can make Medicines in Homes?
Just 15 years ago, a marketplace like Etsy.com could have been unimaginable. But now, such marketplaces (thanks to the Internet) connect the maker and the buyer in no time, no matter where in the world they are. It would be disrespectful on the intelligence of the Humans to dismiss the fact that 3D printing medicines would simply be the norm of the future. Given such a potent power to manufacture chemicals that can alter biology, the myriads of ways it can be used for the wrong reasons are quite imaginable. That is not our concern here.
Our concern here is — how do we make sure that those pills that are made in home with 3D printers are safe for consumption. The answer is simple – when manufacturing is decentralized, so should be the regulation.