Walmart joins IBM, KPMG, and Merck in blockchain drug-tracking pilot

Walmart, one of the leading American retail companies, has joined technology pioneer IBM, KPMG, and Merck in a new development aimed at providing tracking of pharmaceutical products through blockchain technology.

This collaboration is not the first time Walmart and IBM are joining forces, as the two are official partners on a blockchain food-tracking project as well. In the 2018 report on the FoodTrust project, IBM concludes that food-tracking has become several times faster for Walmart, reducing the time necessary to receive information about a given product form a week to no more than three seconds.

The collaboration regarding pharmaceutical tracking comes soon after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started approving similar platforms for government-supervised pilot-programs.

One of the main goals of the new blockchain tracking system is to reduce or even eliminate current inconsistencies in the management and supervision of stock in the pharmaceutical industry. The essence of this new system will allow companies and suppliers to automatically receive information about their inventory and the progression of shipments and deliveries.

This is the second pharmaceutical pilot for Walmart, as the company already partners with MediLedger on a similar project. The significant difference between the IBM project and MediLedger is that the first is using the Hyperledger technology, while the second one is entirely built on Ethereum.  

For Eric Garvin, co-lead at MediLedger, Walmart’s participation in both pilots is not a problem. According to him:

Many pharma companies are participating in multiple pilots.

Blockchain is rapidly entering the pharmaceutical world, with innovative tracking solutions like the Hyperledger and MediLedger’s system. This means that another one of the largest industries in the world is becoming more and more accepting of the capabilities of this new technology.