NITI Aayog has partnered with Oracle, Apollo Hospitals and Strides Pharma Sciences to track drug supply chain using blockchain and IoT solution. This will be a pilot project for three months.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Friday, Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, said: “The problem of fake and counterfeit drugs is a major issue and the partnership will help drug manufacturers and healthcare experts eliminate fake drugs.”

India is the largest producer of genetic drugs in the world and accounts for 35 per cent of all counterfeit drugs. Also the Indian pharmaceutical industry is third largest in the world in terms of volume, accounting for 10 per cent of world’s production. A report by the World Health Organization estimates that close to 20 per cent of all drugs sold in India is fake.

Key challenge

One of the major challenges is that consumers have no way of knowing where the drug originates, how is it transferred or verify if the drugs are maintained at the right temperatures. The blockchain solution by Oracle is an answer to that.

The solution tracks drug movement at every point — from manufacturers, transporters, warehouses, distributors, retailers and hospitals to consumers.

Since the record made to the software is permanent, it leaves no scope for record tampering. In case of a fake drug, the software will detect irregularity in the chain and notify the concerned nodal point.

The IoT platform will track critical information about the drug such as chemical combination or room temperature to ensure that the right conditions have been maintained. All stakeholders can trace the movement using the mobile app developed by Oracle.

Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, said, prior to the pilot, the company made a raw application and did a pilot in a controlled environment. Oracle is now testing it live in Apollo pharmacies and Strides.

Kumar said it is a learning curve and it will help the company better the current solution and come up with a complete prototype when pilot ends.

The details on how the solution can be scaled to cover the entire nation will be worked out by NITI Aayog and other stakeholders.