Earlier last year, we had reported that pharmaceutical giant Merck, was looking to use blockchain to track counterfeit medicines.
Only recently, has the company been granted a blockchain patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to determine the authenticity of physical objects. The system which has been developed by the company will function on a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain.
According to a press release by Merck,
“The new technology uses machine learning to link physical objects to a blockchain through their own unique identifiers or ‘fingerprints‘.”
The aim of this technology will be to strengthen the security of systems such as supply chains, and to successfully eliminate counterfeiting. The tech is currently being developed in Merck’s Innovation Center, which is the firm’s research and development arm.
The patent, now public, describes a technology that can recognize and record any unique feature of a physical object, forming a supposed “fingerprint,” of that object. This includes chemical signatures, DNA and image patterns.
It is clear that blockchain is becoming the go to choice in technology, for increasing number of companies across various sectors. Just yesterday Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science launched a new blockchain-powered platform which would trace natural diamonds across the entire supply chain.
Counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry has emerged as a massive problem for the people. Not only are fake drugs being manufactured and circulated in the market, it is almost impossible to tell the difference if you are not an expert.
Fakes drugs have claimed the life of more than a million people in the last year alone, according to latest reports and charts. Merck noted that more than 50 percent of pharmaceutical products purchased on illegal websites are actually fake, based on a report by the World Health Organization.
We hope blockchain can help solve the problem of counterfeiting in the pharma industry.