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BONN: March 12, 2018. DHL and Accenture have created a blockchain-based prototype to track pharmaceutical shipments from manufacturer to patient in order to reduce counterfeiting.

According to Interpol, up to 30 percent of pharma products sold in emerging markets are counterfeit and lead to the death of one million people a year.

“We see especially exciting potential for blockchain in pharmaceuticals, which is why we focused our proof of concept with Accenture on the life sciences and healthcare industry,” said Keith Turner, CIO Chief Development Office for DHL Supply Chain. “By utilizing the inherent irrefutability within blockchain technologies, we can make great strides in highlighting tampering.”

Blockchain historyBlockchain - or distributed computing - maintains, records and authenticates shipment transactions by assigning goods a unique identifier that allows all stakeholders to validate the data in real time throughout the supply chain, in order to avoid tampering or altering a record.

The DHL and Accenture prototype ledger can share data with manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors. The two partners have determined blockchain could handle more than seven billion unique serial numbers and 1,500 transactions per second.

“We’ve worked closely with DHL to understand and document the broad impact blockchain will have on supply chains of the future,” aded Andreas Baier, Accenture lead for the travel and transportation industry and DHL client team leader. “Using a common, indelible and secure ledger, the industry can achieve much higher safety standards – from the factory to the patient – at much lower cost."

According to the International Data Corporation, global spending on blockchain is expected to reach US$2.1 billion this year and US$9.7 billion by 2021.

While acknowledging the potential of blockchain in logistics “is significant”, DHL and Accenture say collaboration by all stakeholders will be required to develop further the technology, transform legacy processes, and jointly adopt new ways of creating logistics value.

“The experiments with blockchain in finance are well known, but we believe logistics is an area where the new technology will have a truly profound impact,” noted Matthias Heutger, senior vice president DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.

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