Answering the FDA’s call: LedgerDomain’s Hyperledger Fabric-based BRUINchain improves tracking and tracing of prescription drugs

By September 22, 2020 Blog, Healthcare, Hyperledger Fabric

Four billion prescriptions were dispensed at US pharmacies in 2019, and even conservative estimates suggest that over 100 million prescriptions may be incorrectly dispensed. To address this problem, healthcare leaders are actively working to put new tools into the hands of pharmacists to ensure the right drugs reach the right people.

Part of that effort is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), an ongoing, decade-long effort to track and trace prescription drugs in the United States. The DSCSA is intended to enhance the FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated, or otherwise harmful. The vision is to have an interoperable system in place by 2023 that will allow for drug tracing, product verification, and prompt detection and response protocols to handle all suspect medications. To get the system in place, the FDA turned to the public in 2019 and asked for new, cutting-edge approaches to improve the prescription pipeline.

LedgerDomain, an enterprise-grade blockchain solutions provider known for its work on developing the next generation of healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chains, was one of the companies that responded to the FDA’s request. LedgerDomain’s proposal of a blockchain-based solution in collaboration with UCLA and the pharmaceutical company Biogen was selected by the FDA as part of its pilot project program. 

LedgerDomain’s pilot centered on the development and live testing of BRUINchain, a blockchain-based system that meets DSCSA standards for pharmaceutical dispensers all within a shared-permission yet private ecosystem. While the pharmaceutical supply chain has numerous stakeholders, BRUINChain, which is built on Hyperledger Fabric, establishes one version of the truth for the pipeline that is immutable and invaluable.

The team tested BRUINchain within UCLA Health’s network of 500 pharmacists and technicians, focused on tracking the drug Spinraza, the first medication approved to treat children and adults with a rare and often fatal genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy. The results exceeded UCLA Health and LedgerDomain’s expectations. The BRUINchain app’s barcode scanning functionality on iPhones was 100 percent effective, and the Hyperledger Fabric-based system was able to track every dose of Spinraza at UCLA Health, down to which refrigerator each dose was stored in across the campus. Even before the pilot ended, the team was adding new functionality and products as the network of pharmacists grew more reliant on the BRUINchain system. 

Hyperledger teamed up with LedgerDomain on a detailed case study on the BRUINchain pilot, including deployment details and results, projected cost and time saving and next steps based on the solution’s success to date.

Read the full case study here.