(Article originally published in Rx Data News, Issue 5 Vol. 1)
The opioid crisis has become an epidemic now and with the revolutionary technology of blockchain, I believe that it is the weapon that we need to combat this beast in the U.S. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has come out with some startling factors – 115 people in the U.S die daily for the use of opioids and the burden to the economy is over $78 billion for the mismanagement of opioid manufacturing and prescriptions.
When you think of the value of blockchain, you immediately think transparency, integrity, security, and no controlling person, company, or government. So blockchain at the end of the day is just a digital distributed ledger.
When you think of the value of blockchain, you immediately think transparency, integrity, security, and no controlling person, company, or government. So blockchain at the end of the day is just a digital distributed ledger. When a transaction happens, the information is documented on the ledger and shared with every single computer node. This means one person or company cannot make a change, keeping the integrity.
So how can the blockchain help? The prescription drug supply chain process would no longer reside on multiple decentralized and disconnected systems – prescriptions would be put on the blockchain as well to increase the trust of prescriptions also information for the entire supply chain would reside there so the pills that are sent from the manufacturer to the pharmacy would be counted and quantities would be confirmed. Also, the doctor writing the prescription for the pills which are picked up at the pharmacy are documented on the blockchain for verification of integrity of the patient’s prescription needs. Let’s say pills are then found on school grounds, they will be able to use the identifier, see who the patient is, the prescribing physician, what pharmacy and where it came from. This also would help with authenticity – as we are seeing a wave of “counterfeit” opioids. To go one step further, when you have this information on the blockchain, using predictive analysis can also help combat the problem by identifying where misuse may happen before it happen or identifying doctors that are overprescribing.