Traceability Of Counterfeit Drugs Supply Chain Through Blockchain

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Counterfeit medicine as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is one which is deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source.

Counterfeiting of various products creates problems for different manufacturing industries and it imposes serious threat to pharmaceutical products. This threatens the public health and also causes loss of revenue to the legitimate manufacturing organizations.


In order to combat counterfeit drugs in the supply chain, several reforms were introduced into the supply chain.

  • Proposition for usage of Smart-Track which contains barcode or RFID code on medicine bottles for verifying its legitimacy.
  • Proposition for Data-Matrix tracking system. where each medicine contains Data-Matrix. This matrix includes Manufacturer ID, Product ID, unique ID of the package, the authentication code and optional meta -data. Mention of the CVR(central verification register) which will store the hash value of the details included by Data-Matrix was also made. On purchase scanned Data-Matrix (which includes hash value) is verified with the CVR of the manufacturer.
  • Proposition of NFC (Near Field Communication) tags for validating the authenticity of drugs. It contains three different phases such as (1) Product registration (2) Product authentication by Key value (3) NFC (Near Field Communication) tag. A key exchange technique has been proposed to verify the details of the medicine from its NFC tag.

None of the above methods use the automatic verification of product authenticity, and manufacturer legitimacy. When it comes to preventing counterfeit drugs in the drug supply chain, blockchain technology stands out as a way to ensure an immutable chain of transaction ledger, tracking each step of the supply chain at the individual drug level.


Proposed Medical chain storage using permissioned blockchain and how counterfeit drugs will be tracked:

Medical Chain Data Storage in Blockchain

Similar to Bitcoin transaction data,each participant will share their public key, hash value of previous transaction, encrypted QR (Quick response) code by manufacturer. The QR code consists of the details of medicine which is manufactured by pharmaceutical agencies. The transaction of the medical chain here is secure and tempered-proof. Illegitimate participant can’t get access to the block of transaction due to public key verification of participant (recipient) and digital signature verification of sender.

Drug Safety using blockchain

The proposed framework produces the secure channel for drug safety among various participants like Manufacturer, Distributor, Patient, Hospital, and Regulatory of smart contract, in the medicine supply chain.

  • The Pharmaceutical organization will manufacture the drug with details such as drug name, location, timestamp, ingredients, usage of drug, and side effects and get authorized by a regulatory approved smart contract. Manufacturer generates an encrypted QR (quick response) code for the details and attaches the transaction to the blockchain system.
  • Any detail of drugs requested will be served upon sharing a public key by that participant to the manufacturer. Manufacturer will encrypt the QR code and will send it back to the participant.
  • The QR code will be decrypted by the valid participant by their private key.
  • The illegitimate user can not access the blockchain, only legitimate can access the blockchain using public key
Methodology for Proposed Work

Here all the authorities have to get the membership by provider(Regulatory Body) and digital signature by certificate authority.The digital signature will be provided by the certificate authority , hence the participants can trust on it.

  • Transaction between participants will consist of sender public key and digital signature, receiver public key and the information which is sent by sender.
  • The shared information between the participants will be in encrypted QR code format , which can be only accessed by receiver public key.
  • Sender public key will be verified by all the participants of medical chain supply.
  • Once the transaction gets committed then it will be distributed to all the participants.


The proposed Framework represents blockchain based secure infrastructure for medical chain supply among valid participants. The mentioned framework can provide drug security as well as authenticity of the manufacturer. The Current medical chain framework is working on third-party trust which is not very secure for drug safety. The proposed methodology is based on PKI and digital signature which can prevent from replay and man-in-middle attack.

Blockbase Consultants employ blockchain technology to enable:

  • Improved transparency and compliance helped expand the market reach
  • Reduced multi party reconciliation costs
  • Lowered rate of fraud and counterfeit - lesser spending on fraud prevention measures
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Reduced administrative errors related to processing

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