Blockchain To Be Used To Track Counterfeit Medicines

Merck, the pharmaceuticals giant is seeking a patent for a way to use Blockchain in order to track goods as they move through the supply chain. The patent application was published last Thursday and submitted in December 2016. It suggests a method by which a Blockchain could be used to store information about a material object and receive updates as and when it moves onward from its place of origin. That distributed network could then be used to store information verifying the authenticity of the item.

The main issue here that it is planning to tackle is counterfeiting. Merck already is in possession of internal processes for eliminating fake goods that pass through its systems, and the proposed patent would enhance those efforts further.

Merck claims in its filing 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.”

They go 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 is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, with a representative of the firm in charge of the group’s health care working group when it launched last year.