In the pharmaceutical industry, blockchain technology is gaining a lot of momentum. That said, it is also drawing ire from leading consultants such as Pasi Kemppainen who says that caution should be exercised when implementing the technology across the whole digital supply chain.

Many applications

Blockchain has many applications in this sector – pharmaceutical logistics, payment, authentication methods, drug development protection and more. But at a conference in Munich, Kemppainen stated that he was not convinced the tech has the solutions that the industry needs. Whilst he acknowledged that it is secure and scalable, he said;

“I would be cautious myself. It’s a fantastic technology and very stimulating from a possible point of view. But would you test a new technology to solve problems we have with serialisation technologies that are already available I would wait a couple of years before we go for that.”

The rest of the industry doesn’t appear convinced either. A live poll at the event came back showing that around 50% of attendees were not sure about the compatibility of blockchain with the digital supply chain.

Required to be accountable

One of the big concerns is that the blockchain is public in the way that it enables access to all participating parties. As pharmaceutical entities are required by law to be accountable, the ledger could be set up privately.

There are also concerns about the fact that it may not be compliant with the recently introduced GDPR which gives data subjects the right to revoke the use of their personal data at any time.

“What you put into blockchain you cannot take out. To comply with GDPR you would need to be able to remove data and if you enable that, it’s not a blockchain anymore.” Pasi added.

The consultant for Epista Life Science concluded that blockchains transaction performance could actually be a hindrance across the sector: “Bitcoin is facing a huge lack of performance and it can take hours to finalise a block. It just doesn’t work.”

However, jurisdictions such as Malta and Taipei are looking into Blockchain based technologies to help improve their services both in the public and private sector. Blockchain cannot be seen only as a negative system since it has many positive sides to it that need to look at thoroughly.

The blockchain platform might have errors to it but cryptographers are working hard to improve the network of things, making it hard for hackers to bypass it and securing currencies safely into the investors’ wallets. This technology is at its infant stage, no one knows, as yet, what the future entails for this ecosystem. Many crypto and blockchain enthusiasts believe that it will change the world of technology as we see it today.


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