As pressure mounts to meet the new mandatory global serialization standards, pharmaceutical companies could learn a lot from bitcoin, the relatively new cryptocurrency. Facilitating multi-stage currency transactions has much in common with the task of effectively tracking and tracing drugs from manufacturer to consumer, enabling ‘a shared version of the truth’ about the authenticity of each pharmaceutical unit, the quality control that has been enforced throughout its handling and shipping, the auditable chain of ownership and responsibility, and much, much more.


Bitcoin is based on a technology known as blockchain – a distributed ledger that permits data to be broadcast to all authorized stakeholders in the supply chain but forbids fake data. It is ideal when the supply chain involves many parties that are geographically spread, with high potential for mistrust and a pressing need for security, privacy and fraud prevention.

For some months now, DHL and Accenture have been evaluating the usability and scalability of blockchain technology in the life sciences and healthcare industry. In fact, we have established one of the world’s most substantial blockchain-based track-and-trace serialization systems, spanning 6 geographies and populated with +7 billion unique pharmaceutical serial numbers. Already this system is handling more than 1,500 transactions per second.


Now we want to prove the concept of blockchain by taking this system out of the lab environment and running pilots with life sciences and healthcare customers. If your organization is interested in this collaborative opportunity, please get in touch. To explore how you might rapidly build, test and assess blockchain capabilities within your own business, please watch our brief introductory video. In addition, DHL and Accenture will soon be jointly publishing an important trend report on blockchain in logistics which helps to separate facts from hype, showing how this technology might unlock hidden value in logistics. Stay tuned for updates.

A (bitcoin) penny for your thoughts? Are you ready to apply this technology? I think it makes sense to prepare. Blockchain may soon be capable of disrupting the life sciences and healthcare industry as much as it is now disrupting the global economy.

As originally published on LinkedIn


Is Blockchain The New Internet? Find the DHL Trendpaper here.


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Published: March 2018

Images: DHL/Shutterstock