Global retail Goliath Walmart has joined a consortium that’s attempting to build a blockchain for tracking pharmaceutical supply chains.
A spokesperson representing the firm confirmed to CoinDesk that Walmart has joined MediLedger, but they did not provide any further comments.
MediLedger is aiming to create an “open and decentralized network for the pharmaceutical supply chain,” designed to address the tightening regulations that govern the supply chains of drugs and medications. That said, according to the MediLedger website, network nodes are run and operated by industry participants, so it doesn’t sound entirely open and decentralized.
The Drug Supply Chain Security Act from the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) states that pharma companies need to “build an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they’re distributed in the United States.” MediLedger is hoping its enterprise-oriented private fork of Ethereum will provide part of the solution.
Indeed, companies have to be willing to give the system a go for a solution to be found, though. With this news, Walmart joins a host of Big Pharma companies like Pfizer, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, and Premier Inc that are all in the process of testing MediLedger.
As it happens though, it’s not Walmart‘s first foray into blockchain-based supply chains.
With E. Coli outbreaks on the rise, last September, Walmart began telling all of its leafy green suppliers they’d have to start tracking their produce on the blockchain within a year.
Given the FDA’s regulations on the supply of drugs, Big Pharma certainly requires a digital system to track and trace their delivery. But it remains to be seen if blockchain will come out on top.