According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 10 medical devices in developing countries is substandard or tampered. In Afghanistan, the number is staggering. Therefore, The Afghan Ministry of Health is working to address this predicament.
A study by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) proved that a significant proportion of Afghanistan’s rural population does not have adequate access to basic health care.
As part of its efforts to address health problems in Afghanistan, the Afghan Ministry of Health will begin testing a blockchain-based smart medicine pilot program on the Phantom Opera mainnet.
Fantom’s CIO, Michael Kong, said that with the outbreak of COVID-19, individuals witnessed a sudden and dramatic increase in demand for medical products. As a result, this led to the emergence of opportunistic criminals trying to profit from the disaster.
Since 2018, antiviral seizures have increased by 18% and chloroquine by 100%. Having said such, implementing a transparent supply chain and distributed ledger technology can greatly reduce these challenges.
The program faced heavy delays
The pilot program was originally scheduled before the beginning of this year. However, the program has been temporarily postponed due to COVID-19.
Kong says Afghanistan is very interested in using new and emerging technologies like blockchain. For the reason that, the country wants to solve some of the problems it faces domestically.
Kong added that because counterfeit drugs are a big problem in Afghanistan, we have signed an MOU with the Ministry of Health to pilot the program. Moreover, to have organized several companies to join the program to demonstrate the benefits of our technology.
The pilot program has begun
Fantom is working with three other companies to launch a smart medicine pilot program that will run for about 2–3 months. The pharmacies are Royal Star Pharma, Nabros Phrama, and Bliss GVS.
Dr. Ghulam Syed Rashed is the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health’s National Office of Pharmaceuticals and Health Products Regulatory. He stated that they are very excited about seeing this application in the healthcare sector. This aims to help prevent drug counterfeiting and make it easier to track medicines. They say that this is an important project for their country and that they fully support it.
What is the process of a supply chain?
Fantom provides labels for affixing to pharmaceutical products manufactured by Bliss GVS and Nabros Pharma. Royal Star then scans the label at each stage of the distribution process.
All scan data is timestamped and stored on the Phantom blockchain. They are using a cryptographic encryption process to create an immutable audit trail.
Subsequently, Royal Star and the Ministry of Health check the authenticity of the product. After that, it will compare the hash of the data with the hash existing on the blockchain. In addition, this is to verify the authenticity of the data and the product. According to Fantom, end consumers can also scan labels to verify authenticity. The pilot project tracks 80,000 items.
The future of healthcare and blockchain
Fantom is not the only blockchain project trying to solve health problems.
Kadena Blockchain, powered by JPMorgan JPM + 1.4% Blockchain Center for Excellence, has partnered with medical data platform Rymedi for the same purpose.
WHO uses this system to monitor immunization records, treatment and also for the prevention practices in Mongolia.
MediLedger attracted 24 companies to the US pharmaceutical supply chain. They collaborated on the DSCSA pilot project to obtain FDA approval for an interoperable prescription drug tracking and tracking system in the United States. Walmart WMT + 0.3%, FedEx FDX + 2.6%, and Pfizer PFE -3.4% are among the participants.
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