Leading life sciences and healthcare companies Pfizer Inc., McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and Premier Inc. have joined the MediLedger Project Contracting and Chargebacks working group, a second working group running in parallel to the ongoing DSCSA working group started in 2017. MediLedger is an initiative of Chronicled, Inc., a San Francisco-based technology company, that builds blockchain-powered ecosystems and supply chain solutions.
MediLedger uses blockchain technology to achieve three things. First, it stores synchronized public data, ensuring that everyone is using the same “source of truth.” Second, it holds an immutable record of transactions that have taken place, but in a confidential way that safeguards valuable business intelligence. Finally, it utilizes smart contracts to enforce business rules and execute transactions to ensure the integrity of the system.
Chronicled has begun work to design a protocol to dramatically improve the complex process of chargebacks, with work underway to finalize design in Q1/Q2 and aims to begin testing this protocol in Q3 2019. Medicines today are often sold via wholesale distributors, with pricing and eligibility contracts negotiated separately, and parties made whole on the price difference through a chargeback framework. Sharing of information across parties is challenging and creates many inefficiencies across the parties.
MediLedger’s protocol aims to eliminate friction by connecting the disparate parties on a common network and automating the contract reconciliation and chargeback processes. The design phase is underway with a plan to begin testing this protocol in Q2/Q3 2019. Working group participants believe this will reduce costly errors, enable healthcare participants to operate more efficiently, and lower the cost of patient care.
MediLedger Recent Progress
MediLedger continues to make significant progress toward establishing a truly decentralized blockchain network for the pharmaceutical industry. The network, which remains on track to go live by Q2 2019, has succeeded in establishing a protocol for saleable return drug verification that meets current 2019 DSCSA regulations. This solution provides full functionality, including GTIN lifecycle management, product change of ownership (M&A scenarios), and request and response messaging.
In coast-to-coast testing, the network displayed request and response times of less than 400 milliseconds. The solution is complete and will be ready for commercial use and integration later this year. The Contracting and Chargebacks would represent the second solution available in the network.
MediLedger’s open protocols are available to anyone in the industry who wants to participate in the system, reducing aspects of “vendor lock-in.” Users’ data is kept safe behind a firewall, with information only being shared with the trading partners a user specifically chooses. There is no central repository of all data – the blockchain serves the purpose to cryptographically connecting records. And the system has no “super user” access – even Chronicled, the network manager, does not have access to its users’ private and/or competitively sensitive data. “This is what makes the project so special,” said Susanne Somerville, Chronicled’s CEO. “It’s distributed, it’s decentralized, and the data is private. Even though Chronicled is providing the technology, industry users operate the software themselves.”