Pharmaceuticals giant Merck plans to use blockchain to verify the authenticity of medications by following them as they move through the supply chain, reported Coindesk on June 25.
Merck filed a patent application that was published last Thursday where it describes a method the blockchain could be used to track a physical object as it is circulating in the supply chain in order to combat counterfeit medications and products. It would then reduce the risk to create a counterfeit product.
The pharma giant wants to eliminate fake goods that are moving through its supply chain with the use of the blockchain technology to limit counterfeiting.
“In order to verify the authenticity of the physical object respectively its origin, a challenge according to this challenge-response-scheme is applied by a second party receiving the physical object to the PUF of the physical object’s marking and the same cryptographic hash function is applied to generate a respective hash value from data representing the response received from the PUF,” the filing says.
The document further explains,
“The hash value contained in the digital signature can be derived by decrypting the digital signature using its related public key and then the two hash values can be compared. If they match, this indicates that the physical object is authentic and the composite security marking has not been tampered with. Otherwise, i.e. if they do not match, this indicates that some sort of fraud might have happened since the originator applied the composite security marking to the physical object.”
Merck is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and one of its representatives is in charge of the group’s healthcare working group.