Blockchain to Enhance Drug and Seafood Supply Chains, Energy and Insurance Sectors

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Mondaq Business Briefing

July 2, 2019

By Panida Pollawit

This week, Forbes reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a partnership between a drug company, its distributor and others to undergo a pilot project using blockchain to track prescription drugs and vaccines from production to purchase in order to prevent counterfeit, stolen or contaminated medicines. In more supply chain news, according to an online newsletter on food safety, the National Fisheries Institute, a U.S.-based trade association representing seafood companies from harvesters to restaurants, is working with a large information technology company to test whether implementing blockchain into the seafood supply chain can create more transparency and reduce costs for seafood businesses. Also this week, Bloomberg reported that Canada’s largest pharmacy chain is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. to use blockchain as a way of tracking the source of cannabis to give patients and their doctors more comfort in prescribing cannabis treatments.

Blockchains may also help Austria meet its 2050 zero-emission and carbon-neutral goals. In Graz, Austria, Power Ledger is partnering with one of Austria’s energy utility companies to see whether they can use blockchains to sell excess energy produced by rooftop solar panels to neighboring homes. According to Power Ledger, users selling excess renewable energy on their platform can keep their identity anonymous under the definition of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR).

Another recent blockchain pilot is taking place in the life insurance industry. According to a recent press release, in Singapore, a media company is teaming with life insurance companies to leverage blockchain to connect, upon consent, those who have recently lost loved ones to potential life insurance policy claims after detecting obituaries reporting the decedent’s death.

New data suggests that blockchain applications are expected to increase. According to a report by BIS Research, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for blockchain in the aerospace and aviation industries is projected to be approximately 60% over the next decade. The report cites to transparency, reduction of the risk of fraud and reduction in costs as major factors contributing to this growth. BIS Research also pointed to factors that may hinder this growth, including the lack of awareness, regulatory framework, and infrastructure of blockchain technology in the aerospace and aviation industries. Separately, a survey by Wither & Rogers of patents filed in 2016 and 2017 found that blockchain outpaced other emerging technologies in the number of patents filed, and even surpassed the number of patents related to quantum computing.

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