US Researchers Develop Blockchain Protocol to Fight Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals


Portland State University (PSU) researchers have made a blockchain protocol to prevent counterfeit pharmaceuticals from filling the market, according to a press release published on April 15.

PSU researcher and professor of computer science at the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, Nirupama Bulusu, in collaboration with PSU computer science doctoral student Naif Alzahrani published a work dubbed “A new product anti-counterfeiting blockchain using a truly decentralized dynamic consensus protocol.”

In the paper, the researchers described a new blockchain-based method to record transactions geared to facilitate the fight against fake pharmaceuticals by product checking and decentralization. The proposed solution represents a blockchain-based chain of information, with only users possessing a specific key to access or modify the stored data.

Bulusu reportedly stated that the decision to create the protocol was due to the fact that the counterfeit pharmaceutical crisis harms the most vulnerable international populations. “This protocol could potentially disrupt and disable illicit supply networks,” Bulusu said.

Blockchain technology has been widely adopted in order to fight counterfeiting in various industries. Recently, IBM and data storage firm Seagate announced a joint initiative to fight counterfeit hard drives using blockchain technology. The project will reportedly use IBM’s Blockchain Platform to help manufacturers, integrators, and business partners better authenticate the provenance of hard disk drives.

Last October, Overstock.com’s venture capital subsidiary Medici Ventures invested in Israeli-based technology company VinX to develop a blockchain-powered wine futures platform. VinX plans to develop a token-based digital wine futures platform based on the Bordeaux futures model, that will enable the trade of wine futures on a blockchain platform. The initiative purports this will create a secure supply chain that assures product provenance and thus reduces fraud in the wine industry.