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FDA Commissioner Recommends Use of Blockchain for Supply Chain Pilot

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The Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended the use of blockchain for an open pilot scheme for the pharmaceuticals industry.

The pilot concentrates on boosting supply chains and was announced in a notice published February 8.

The Pilot Project Program Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA Pilot Project Program), which looks to ingratiate industry players with innovative technologies, will accept applications until March 11.

The move is a first step in the development of a digital supply chain platform explicitly geared to monitoring drugs and stopping counterfeiting, set to function from 2023. While not confirmed, analogues of such supply chain platforms leverage blockchain technology to improve conventional systems.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb was quoted in an accompanying press release Feb. 7:

“We’re invested in exploring new ways to improve traceability, in some cases using the same technologies that can enhance drug supply chain security, like the use of blockchain.”

The DSCSA in fact goes back to 2013, when it — an act that “outlines steps to build an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs” — was inked into law.

“Enhanced verification and tracing in the supply chain can translate to a more rapid response by industry and the FDA when an illegitimate product is found,” the press release also relayed.

The FDA did not specify the intended size or scope of the project, nor talk about which specific industry participants, if any, had already expressed their interest.

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