After putting a virtual ban on cryptocurrencies, the Indian government is planning to come up with a blockchain solution aimed at combatting India’s counterfeit drugs trade.
The project is being led by the Indian government think tank, National Institution for Transforming India (or simply NITI Aayog). NITI Aayog aims to develop a proof-of-concept (PoC) of their solution by the end of 2018. According to Factor Daily, they intend to roll the solution out next year.
A NITI Aayog official anonymously said:
We are all taking those [fake] medicines and I am sure people are dying. One way to reduce that is put the entire supply chain on the blockchain
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report said that India is responsible for producing 35 percent of all of the counterfeit drugs that are being sold all over the world. According to Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), around “60-70 percent of dietary supplements being sold across India are fake, counterfeit, unregistered and unapproved.”
With its solution, NITI Aayog aims to counter the current state of affairs by making unique ID numbers for every single medicine. This number would be tracked through the supply chain on blockchains. Using this system, consumers and businesses would be able to access the source and history of the drugs simply by scanning the QR code or the barcode present on the medicine.
The country’s pharmaceutical industry has shown a green flag to the project despite the cost concerns. The secretary-general of the lobby group Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, Dilip G. Shah, said:
Fake drugs are a concern and, if blockchain can help the industry get rid of the problem, we are up for it
Arun Jaitley, the country’s finance minister had earlier stated during his budget speech in February,
The Government will explore [the] use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in [a] digital economy