Russia Trials Blockchain to Fight Counterfeit Drugs

The Russian government is testing blockchain to create a system to record and monitor the movement of medicines.

The Russian government will conduct a blockchain-focused pilot to create a system for the records and delivery of medicines, local media service Izvestia reported, citing the adviser of Vnesheconombank (VEB) chairman Vladimir Demin. The project, set to launch this month, will be initially carried out in the Novgorod region. According to project documents, the government hopes it will help it fight against the falsification and resale of expensive prescription drugs purchased with budgetary funds.

The project team has already created a unified database of electronic prescriptions, which integrates the internal system of the Novgorod Regional Hospital and the 1C software for the registration of drugs, representatives of the United Medical Corporation (OMK) said. These three components will be integrated into an Ethereum-based blockchain ecosystem and will share information such as patients’ data or the availability of drugs and their movement.

In the future, the blockchain-based system for monitoring medicines might be rolled out country-wide, VEB’s spokesperson said.

The pilot currently involves three branches of the Novgorod Regional Clinical Hospital, with a local network of pharmacies to be connected in the future, documents show. The experiment will cost 5 million rubles (about $80,000), which will come from the regional budget. The funds will be allocated to research, equipment, and software development.

The blockchain experiment is expected to end on December 20 of this year, after which the authorities will make a final decision on whether to scale the project to other regions or not.

The progress of the project will be shared with the regional unit of the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare (Roszdravnadzor), the health department, the territorial Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund, and the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the region.

This is not the first blockchain project to receive support from the Russian government. In October last year, the technology was implemented for the first time to manage data from the Unified State Register of Real Estate.

Last month, we reported that Russia was drafting a bill to create a legal framework for blockchain development and implementation.