AmerisourceBergen on blockchain technology

As data sharing and management processes in the pharmaceutical industry become more challenging, and the availability of innovative technologies increases, companies both at the clinical​ and commercial​ stage look to tap into the flexibility of blockchain technology by entering data sharing networks.

Heather Zenk, VP of global secure supply chain operations at AmerisourceBergen, told us how the company, which ‘sits in the middle’ of the supply chain, has started to integrate blockchain technology in order to build on its communication with manufacturers.

“Due to the most recent components of the drug supply regulation, we needed to communicate externally with manufacturers in nearly real-time transactions, to validate the serial numbers on packaging,”​ the executive explained, adding, “Our current technology would not support that, so we started to look for other options, and blockchain organically came forward.”

Zenk explained that blockchain technology allowed the distributor to create and hold a safe, encrypted ‘phone book’ consisting of the electronic locations of each product included in each transaction. The phone book is automatically synced with any updates from the manufacturer, facilitating the validation.

This process, according to Zenk, is seen as the first use case which “sets up the baseline infrastructure”​ that will enable the expansion to other use cases. Another potential use case would be the activation of a dynamic list with all the entities eligible to buy certain products.

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