To prevent drugs counterfeiting: Imperial college student proposes blockchain solution
Saujanya Vruddhula, an undergraduate student of Imperial College London, developed a system where micro Quick Response codes can be directly printed onto pharma-drugs and the linking blockchain will provide a solution to counterfeit medicine issue.
She is a second-year life science student at the Imperial College London. She has won £15,000 from Imperial’s WE Innovate programme for female innovators, funding for her start-up, Oggic, in March 2018.
Saujanya said, “You already have RFID tags, QR codes and barcodes printed on medicine packs. But we want to print micro QR codes directly onto the drugs,” “Because it’s on the capsule itself, no-one can tamper with the code.” Printing onto capsules is already possible, Saujanya added.
US Food and Drug Administration has already announced its requirement to imprint codes on drugs
She founded the company Oggic in February 2018. Her primary target is United States-based pharma-companies who manufactures for malaria and pneumonia, the drugs at risk with counterfeiters. Saujanya hopes to provide a solution on the market by the end of 2018 with help from her brother who is also her technology advisor.
Anyone can verify the authenticity of medicines and can also track the location at any step of the supply chain, by registering the micro QR codes on the blockchain.
Varun stated, “In cryptography, we have something called digital signatures,” “These are not like DocuSign signatures, where you type your name, but rather they are cryptographic hash functions that can only be generated by a key owned by the person signing it. No-one else can duplicate that.”
“Anyone can verify whether the person who signed the code was the original owner of the message.” He added.
This way, the process will be a way for the pharma-manufacturers to sign every capsule digitally. Doing this will prevent from pharma- counterfeit.
They are also trying to develop two apps, one is for the pharmaceutical company supply chains and one for patients. Both are designed to work in a similar way. Saujanya said “Both will work in a similar way,” The pharmaceutical supply chain application will keep track of how the drug is moving through the supply chain, along with verification of authenticity. Patients will have a separate application which will tell them if the drug is authentic.”
There are so many challenges that are to be faced by Oggic, out which the most important is the difficulty if printing micro QR codes on the curved surfaces of the medicines. William knotted belt, director of Imperial College London’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering Is their advisor.
“We came up with a solution, but we’re definitely not the only people working to solve this problem. There is competition. It comes down to who will be first to get their product on the market,” Varun said.
The idea of placing anti-counterfeit technology directly onto medicine, rather than packaging, is being researched elsewhere. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have published their findings after printing medicines into a QR-coded pattern onto an edible base, while researchers from Korea are working to embed micro QR codes and 3D barcodes into drugs.
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