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Govt plans leveraging blockchain to weed out the menace of fake drugs

While Indian government doesn’t love cryptocurrencies at all, it has a significant interest in the backbone of cryptocurrencies — blockchain. After announcing IndiaChain, a blockchain-based solution for awarding digital certification of educational degrees, the government is eyeing to leverage it for curbing usages and sales of fake drugs.

Citing sources from Niti Aayog, FactorDaily reports that the government intends to complete a ‘proof of concept’ (PoC) solution by the end of 2018. The solution is expected to roll out in the beginning of the next year.

India has been fighting fake drug menace for decades. Currently, industry estimates highlight that about 20 per cent medicine in the market is spurious or being sold out without any clinical efficacy. Blockchain could be leveraged to have a full proof solution to fight rampant availability of fake or substandard drugs.

During the movements of medicine in the supply chain, the government plans to introduce barcode at the manufacturing level. The unique number will help end users to check the details and veracity of medicines through an app (equipped with barcode scan feature).

The government already had identified a technology partner for it, however, it’s exploring partner that would help it in devising PoC on the blockchain, adds the report.

Pharma companies are open to using blockchain for preventing fake drugs, however, there are some concerns on the cost side. Two-dimensional barcoding requires substantial investment.

“If the government is willing to consider it that it is an additional cost and compensate it, the industry will have no objection,” said aid D G Shah, secretary general of industry lobby Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance to FactorDaily.

Besides leveraging blockchain potential in the pharma industry, the government is currently piloting trials to award degrees under Niti Aayog.  The plan is to begin issuing digital certificates on the blockchain (IndiaChain) from the 2019 batch onwards.

Meanwhile, Niti Aayog also plans running blockchain-based pilots on electronic health records, land records amongst others. Gradually, blockchain is becoming a priority for government wherever citizens require to establish a trusted, shared, and unique record without intermediaries.

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