Blockchain technology can play a crucial role in bringing a paradigm shift in the operational structure of the pharmaceutical industry by improving its efficiency, security, and management.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess which of the pharmaceutical value chain components will benefit the most from the adoption of blockchain technology. Analysis of the poll results shows the supply chain will benefit the most, as voted by a majority 29% of the respondents.

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Drug development process and drug discovery were voted to benefit by 17% and 15% of the respondents, respectively. While manufacturing was viewed to be the most benefited by 12% of the respondents, 11% voted for sales and marketing.

Further, end-user experience such as improved patient portals and drug approval was voted by 8% and 5% of the respondents, respectively.

Supply chain the pharmaceutical value chain component that will benefit the most from adopting blockchain technology

The analysis is based on 246 responses received from the readers of Pharmaceutical Technology, a Verdict network site, between 18 February 2020 and 19 April 2021.

Benefits of blockchain technology adoption in pharmaceutical industry

The decentralised nature of blockchain technology can bring unprecedented transparency and security to the pharmaceutical supply chain, eliminating the scope for tampering, counterfeiting or diversion of drug products. Pharmaceutical giants such as Novartis and Merck have embraced blockchain technology to prevent drug counterfeiting and improve their supply security.

The management of existing pharmaceutical supply chains has issues such as lack of modernisation and involvement of intermediaries. Blockchain technology can help in the modernisation and digitisation of the supply chain, although it involves high implementation costs and has limited storage capabilities, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics firm.

Blockchain technology along with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other digital tools can also support the research and development process through the secure transfer of large data and its analysis across a wide network. Further, manufacturing of highly complex personalised product, technology transfer between academia and industry, and patient data management can be improved through the use of blockchain technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, could be a headwind for the future implementation of blockchain technology as the crisis pushed back the technology in the priority list of the healthcare industry, adds GlobalData.