Pfizer, Others Join MediLedger Healthcare Blockchain Working Group

– Pfizer, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Premier have joined the MediLedger Project’s healthcare blockchain contracting and chargebacks working group.

The working group will cooperate with Chronicled on developing a protocol to improve the process of chargebacks in healthcare.

Back in 2017, Chronicled joined with The LinkLab to form the MediLedger Project to use blockchain to improve the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The project is “distributed, it’s decentralized, and the data is private. Even though Chronicled is providing the technology, industry users operate the software themselves,” said Chronicled CEO Susanne Somerville.

Medicines are often sold through wholesale distributors, with pricing and eligibility contracts negotiated separately, and parties are made whole on the price difference through a chargeback framework.

MediLedger’s protocol is intended to reduce friction by connecting the parties on a common network and automating the contract reconciliation and chargeback processes, according to Chronicled. The protocol is designed to reduce errors, enable participants to operate more efficiently, and lower the cost of patient care.

Working group participants expect to begin testing the protocol in the third quarter of 2019. 

“This innovative approach has the potential to transform how chargebacks work for the industry, allowing us to deliver better services to our members,” said Bill Marquardt, vice president of product strategy and planning for Premier.

MediLedger continues to make significant progress toward establishing a decentralized blockchain network for the pharmaceutical industry. The network is scheduled to go live in the second quarter of this year. It has so far succeeded in establishing a protocol for saleable return drug verification that meets Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) regulations.

The initial solution provides global trade item number (GTIN) lifecycle management, product change of ownership, and request and response messaging. In testing, the network displayed request and response times of less than 400 milliseconds. It will be ready for commercial use and integration later this year. 

MediLedger uses blockchain technology to achieve three things. First, it stores synchronized public data, so that everyone is using the same “source of truth.” Second, it holds an immutable record of transactions that have taken place in a confidential way. Finally, it uses smart contracts to enforce business rules and execute transactions to ensure the integrity of the system.

“Blockchain technology, in the context of MediLedger, ensures that there is one source of truth, and we can design it so only the license holder can create records for its own products, for example. This may seem like a simple illustration, but it is revolutionary,” said Chronicled CTO Maurizio Greco.

FDA Approves Healthcare Blockchain Pilot to Track Specialty Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a pilot study to use blockchain to track and verify specialty prescription drugs. Study participants include Indiana University Health, WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Good Shepherd Pharmacy and its RemediChain project, healthcare blockchain firm Rymedi, Zebra Technologies’ Temptime, the Center for Supply Chain Studies, and the Global Health Policy Institute.

The pilot plans to focus on prescription drug transport and use in North Carolina, Indiana, and Tennessee. It will examine the application of blockchain and Internet of Things used to monitor specialty medication distribution across supply chains. This is expected to enhance quality control of medicine, provide data for targeted inventory and recall management, and improve patient safety.

The Center for Supply Chain Studies and the Global Health Policy Institute at the University of California, San Diego, will provide design and evaluation support to improve the pilot’s impact on policy and development of industry standards.

Indiana University Health, the largest hospital network in Indiana, and WakeMed Health and Hospitals, a provider of health services in Raleigh, NC, will implement the blockchain solution to track specialty medicines across provider locations within their networks, as well as transfers to other provider networks to address inventory shortages.

Good Shepherd Pharmacy and RemediChain will use the solution for medicine transfers in their approach to connecting patients unable to afford specialty and rare disease medications with donated medications.

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