Hyd University, DRL to develop blockchain IoT integrated cold chain logistics solutions for pharma
The tech solution will address reconciliation of stock volumes, compliances, delays, lack of visibility among stakeholders and counterfeit drugs in the pharma industry. It will provide a first use case for increasing the exports of the pharmaceutical industry.
January 10, 2022: In an example of industry-academia partnership, two professors including Vijaya Bhaskar Marisetty and Dr. Varsha Mamidi from the School of Management Studies at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) will lead a project, in partnership with India’s leading pharma company, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, for developing cold chain logistics solutions meant for pharmaceutical firms.
The tech solution which is intended to address several challenges faced by the pharma industry including reconciliation of stock volumes, compliances, delays, lack of visibility among stakeholders and counterfeit drugs in the market is slated to be ready in the next 15 months. Pharma companies routinely face multiple compliance, reconciliation, and provenance issues in their supply chain, especially when exporting critical drugs and vaccines to other countries. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that are distributed among an entire network of computers on the blockchain.
Speaking about the pain points faced by the pharma industry that blockchain can solve, Vijaya Bhaskar Marisetty, Professor at the School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad told ITLN, “Blockchain is a natural solution for any industry that has a long supply chain with many stakeholders. The pharma industry regularly faces delays when they import or export drugs with regards to reconciliation or the volume they recieve which has a high error rate. There is a lot of compliance required at both ends of the journey and during customs which routinely delay shipments of critical drugs and vaccines, especially the Coronavirus vaccines. Many times, huge shipments are suspended by governments or regulatory bodies due to lack of compliances. Further there is a huge blame game that happens when there is delay or the drugs are not maintained at a certain temperature while being transported. This points to a lack of traceability and visibility among the supply chain.”
He added, “Blockchain integrated Internet of Things (IoT) framework will help to overcome this hurdle as it ensures a transparent way of sharing information with all stakeholders in the whole end-to-end supply chain network. As the data in blockchain is immutable, it allows traceability once it is integrated with IoT into devices. Given that the information on the blockchain is immutable and audit ready, this will also enhance trust and efficiency in the system. This initiative will provide a first use case for increasing the exports of the pharmaceutical industry. There is real-time information available and compliances can be uploaded at the site of origin and this information is visible to all the parties concerned. This makes the data always audit ready and reduces operating costs, helps build trust and transparency across the supply chain and be more efficient. Most importantly it can stem the problem of counterfeit drugs which is being faced in many countries. Our solution would enable these benefits and would be live in the next 15 months from now.”
This project is supported by the Institution of Eminence (IoE) entrepreneurial research grant of Rs 36 lakhs given to the University of Hyderabad for the project. The official press release from the university mentions that Dr. Ravi Prakash Mathur, Head, Global Logistics will be leading the team from the Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
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