Afghanistan greenlights blockchain startup to start tracking medicinal drugs

By: Jinia Shawdagor
Jinia Shawdagor
Jinia is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Sweden. She loves everything positive, travelling, and extracting joy and happiness from… read more.
on Jul 6, 2020
  • Fantom’s program aims to stop the distribution of counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs in Afghan.
  • The startup will design shipping labels with 11 data points that are verifiable on the blockchain.
  • The firm also intends to partner with Nigeria-based Chekkit in this initiative.

The Afghanistan government has given Fantom, a blockchain startup the go-ahead to start tracking medicinal drugs. A report unveiled this news on July 6, a month after the firm had signing ceremony with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health and several pharmaceutical distributors. Fantom also disclosed the details of its Smart Medicine pilot program, which aims to help stop the distribution of counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs.

According to the report, the Smart Medicine program involves multiple pharmaceutical firms. These include India-based Bliss GVS and Nabros Pharma, and Afghanistan-based Royal Star. Fantom will play the role of supplying labels to track 80,000 products created by Bliss GVS and Nabros. The start will reportedly trace the labeled products over its smart contract platform and Opera blockchain network.

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Reportedly, the products will cover four pharmaceutical areas. These include 50,000 hand sanitizers, 10,000 joint creams, 10,000 Kofol chewable tablets, and 10,000 Diacare foot creams.

According to Michael Kong, Fantom’s CIO, the pilot program will help demonstrate how scanning product data to a blockchain network can create an immutable record.

A tamperproof system

Per the publication, Fantom will design shipping labels, which Royal Star will scan at every stage of the distribution process. The labels will contain a distinctive hash code that is publicly verifiable on-chain. They will also contain 11 data points. These data points will purportedly help ensure all information about a product is verifiable. This information includes the product name, batch number, barcode number, expiry date, production date, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) number, producer’s name, location of scan, the status of the scan, and time and date of a scan.

Fantom also revealed that it will join hands with Chekkit, a Nigeria-based blockchain startup. Chekkit will be responsible for producing a QR code scanning system in the audit trail. In so doing, it will help guarantee that no one tampers with the products.

Prior to this, Fantom entered a formal partnership with Afghanistan’s government in November last year. This partnership saw the government task the startup with developing a blockchain initiative for public health.

1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is fake

This news comes after WHO unveiled that 1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is either falsified or substandard. Per the organization’s report, these products include cancer treatments, contraceptives, antimalarials, antibiotics, and vaccines.

Explaining the repercussions of this falsification, WHO said,

“This means that people are taking medicines that fail to treat or prevent disease. Not only is this a waste of money for individuals and health systems that purchase these products, but substandard or falsified medical products can cause serious illness or even death.”

Do you think Afghanistan’s decision to integrate the blockchain in its healthcare system will help eliminate the use of counterfeit drugs? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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