Blockchain startup Fantom has been given the green light to start tracking medicinal drugs in Afghanistan to help stem the country’s counterfeiting problem.
After a signing ceremony with the Afghan Ministry of Health and several pharmaceutical distributors last month, the startup has unveiled details of its Smart Medicine pilot project.
The project aims to keep track of pharmaceutical drugs traveling along the supply chain in order to stem the distribution of fake products caused by a lack of appropriate checks.
Being able to verify the authenticity of medicines is vital in preventing counterfeit products, Michael Kong, CIO of Fantom, said in a Telegram interview with CoinDesk.
Several pharmaceutical companies are involved in the project including Mumbai-listed Indian company Bliss GVS, Afghanistan-based Royal Star and Indian manufacturer Nabros Pharma.
Fantom will supply labels to trace 80,000 products created by Nabros and Bliss GVS over Fantom’s smart contract platform and Opera blockchain network.
The products will cover four areas of pharmaceuticals including 50,000 hand sanitizers, 10,000 joint creams, 10,000 Kofol chewable tablets and 10,000 Diacare foot creams.
The pilot will demonstrate how scanning product data to a blockchain can create an immutable record, Kong said.
The startup will design shipping labels that are to be scanned by Royal Star at every stage of the distribution process.
Labels can be checked on Fantom’s platform and will contain a unique hash code that can be publicly verified on-chain and includes 11 data points.
These data points will be able to verify the product name, batch number, barcode number, expiry date, production date, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) number, producer’s name, location of scan, the status of the scan, and time and date of a scan.
The project is also collaborating with Nigeria-based blockchain startup Chekkit which is providing a QR code scanning system in the audit trail to guarantee products are not tampered with.
Counterfeit drugs are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people every year, with inferior or useless products ranging from cancer treatment to antimalarial pills.
One in 10 medical products in developing countries is substandard or falsified, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The announcement of the pilot follows on from a formal partnership agreed between Fantom and the Afghan government to establish a blockchain initiative for public health last November.
The startup was given a mandate to invent a solution for detecting counterfeit drugs, Kong confirmed.