DHL, Accenture partner on blockchain to safeguard drugs

Posted: 13 March 2018 3:59 pm
DHL highlights its blockchain test for next-gen logistics

Delivery service DHL tests out a new blockchain solution for the logistics industry

Delivery service DHL and innovation incubator Accenture have a plan to use the blockchain to keep pharmaceuticals safe.

With drug counterfeiting and tampering in its crosshairs, DHL has picked up blockchain technology to help it ensure the pharmaceuticals it delivers are authentic, ethically sourced and in perfect condition.

The company’s working prototype has tested out the blockchain’s ability to trace goods from manufacturer to customer through identification tags that report all movement to the blockchain, where each record is verified and held publicly accountable. Initial simulations indicate that the system could handle 7 billion serial numbers and 1,500 transactions per second.

“We believe logistics is an area where the new technology will have a truly profound impact,” DHL senior vice president Matthias Heutger said.

DHL cites Interpol statistics that show a million people a year die from counterfeit medications, especially in emerging markets. Using blockchain technology, DHL asserts that it can help the pharmaceutical industry — and others — raise their safety standards and cut costs at the same time.

Along with the pharmaceutical use case, DHL highlights the opportunitities for blockchain to streamline asset management and commercial processes in its recently released trend report.

Rolling out the logistics blockchain for real-world use, however, will require a consensus among and adoption by the many stakeholders in the complex supply chain, as well as a reorganization of the infrastructure involved in moving goods from production to delivery. That will take time, but annual investments in blockchain solutions are projected to double this year and increase tenfold by 2021.

In related news, FedEx has also announced plans to use blockchain technology to improve the logistics business, and there are specific cryptocurrencies like VeChain and Waltonchain that have been created to transform business supply chains. Even Qtum has been touted as a potential link between businesses and the blockchain for the logistics industry and many others.

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