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DHL, Accenture Partner To Use Blockchain In Logistics


German logistics company DHL and global technology consultant Accenture have developed a blockchain-based working prototype to benefit the logistics industry, particularly for pharmaceutical products. The prototype "tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer, preventing tampering and errors."

Blockchain is a digital ledger technology capable of recording transactions and storing data in immutable blocks across a distributed network. The entire history of the supply chain for a product that is assigned a unique identifier is captured, as it moves to the end customer.

The use of blockchain technology will eliminate tampering, altering and erasing of product record as data is validated at every stage by stakeholders across the distributed network.

This will be particularly helpful in the pharmaceutical industry as it provides patients with authenticated medications. DHL and Accenture created a blockchain-based serialization prototype with nodes in six geographies to track pharmaceuticals across the supply chain.

According to Interpol, nearly one million lose their lives every year due to counterfeit medications, and an estimated that up to 30 percent of medicines sold in emerging markets are counterfeit.

"Using a common, indelible and secure ledger, the industry can achieve much higher safety standards - from the factory to the patient - at much lower cost. This is one of several opportunities blockchain affords to restructure business processes while reducing cost and complexity," says Andreas Baier, Accenture lead for the travel and transportation industry.

Blockchain is the underlying technology of several cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but has of late, found greater acceptance in fields beyond finance such as pharma, logistics, food and retail, government services and even in distributing aid to refugees.

In August last year, ten of the largest food producers and retailers, including Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, had announced collaboration with IBM Blockchain to help track food supply chains and improve food safety.

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