Enterprise blockchain applications put an end to counterfeit drugs

4 min readSep 8, 2020


The profit from counterfeit drugs can be up to 400% or more. Enterprise blockchain applications are likely to put an end to this situation.

The pharmaceutical industry and governments around the world are facing tough problems dealing with the consequences of counterfeit drugs on human health and the economy. After years of research, experts find that reliable and transparent data management capabilities of enterprise blockchain applications are highly likely to solve these problems. As a result, enterprise blockchain applications will put an end to counterfeit drugs.

The consequences of counterfeit drugs

The World Health Organization estimates that the total value of counterfeit drugs traded annually is up to 73 billion Euros (79.26 billion USD), causing great damage not only to human health but also to the business of pharmaceutical companies, as well as the economy.

When using counterfeit drugs, consumers lose money on things that have no therapeutic value, which can even harm their health and lives. They may have to perform more tests to find the causes, prolonging the treatment process.

Counterfeit and poor quality drugs may contain toxic ingredients, poisoning patients or causing drug resistance, and making real drugs lose value. For example, the substandard malaria drug distributed in 2003 in Asia and Africa resulted in initial resistance to drug resistance. This causes society to incur additional costs and time to develop new drugs, affecting the treatment progress of patients.

Counterfeit drug dealers will bribe those who have the authority to license, facilitate corruption, leading to other social evils.

Difficulties in preventing counterfeit drugs:

  • Counterfeit drugs can come from all over the world and only be discovered once they reach the market. It is difficult to investigate the original manufacturing locations.
  • Profits from the counterfeit drug business can leave people in spite of the consequences:

Selling substandard drugs can be very profitable. The profit from counterfeit drugs can be tens of times higher than the standard drugs, so the violations are increasingly sophisticated and complex.

  • Meanwhile, it is difficult to detect counterfeit products because not everyone has enough professional knowledge to evaluate and distinguish real/counterfeit drugs. The management and testing of medicinal products still depend completely on the authorities and people with professional qualifications, and the sanction level is still modest.
  • A large number of secondary distributors in the pharmaceutical supply chain interfering with the monitoring, inspection and handling of mistakes is ideal for putting counterfeit drugs into the market.

Blockchain pharmaceutical tracking solution

Blockchain-based solutions are being developed by many pharmaceutical companies in collaboration with technology companies to track their pharmaceutical products in terms of quantity, quality, and location. Besides, they hope this solution will also protect the health of users and their brands and help initiate product recalls easily when needed.

Currently, the legal regulations require pharmaceutical companies, drug manufacturers to provide full information about the ingredients in drugs, as well as the conditions and manufacturing processes. Enterprise blockchain will help these businesses submit the required data to achieve transparency while preserving sensitive data.

Moreover, the use of blockchain helps to cut off intermediary services and reduce pressure on the inspection and supervision of the authorities. The executors also will not be able to accept bribes to commit drug quality control fraud because the data is completely transparent and irreversible. All traces of crime will be exposed.

Gradually, as the blockchain pharmaceutical systems are formed, combined with government oversight, it is compulsory for companies and drug manufacturers to register, participate in the system, and be certified before placing the product on the market.

This means that we can prevent counterfeit drugs even before they reach the market. The source information is reliable and can be easily retrieved by using the RFID barcode and scanned by a smartphone. This can be a mechanism for controlling the quality and origin of drugs easily for non-professionals.

In early 2020, several major pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer Inc, and Eli Lilly & Co applied blockchain-based solutions to control production and distribution to track prescription drugs in their supply chain.

As part of a group of solutions for the pharmaceutical and medical sectors, enterprise blockchain platforms akaChain is currently developing a traceability and loyalty program for a multinational medical and agri-pharmaceutical firm. Using these applications, the company gets a reliable way to track its products from production to distribution, as well as customer usage. The project, at the same time, promises to play a key role in data storage and sharing in the future agricultural and healthcare research fields.

About akaChain

akaChain is backed by FPT Software, a globally leading technology, and IT services provider. It is an end-to-end, permissioned, multi-chain network based on the Hyperledger Fabric. Since Establishment in September 2018, akaChain’s product has assisted many enterprises, from SMEs to Fortune 500 firms, to transform with distributed ledger technology. The company provides a broad range of permissioned blockchain-based products and services in multiple sectors, including retail, supply chain, banking and finance, insurance, shopping mall management, etc. to transform with its distributed ledger technology. For more information, please visit https://blog.akachain.io/.

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