Blockchain and Supply Chain Transparency: A Case Study on Utilizing Blockchain Technology as a Platform for Transparency

John Schwartz Jacobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

A future challenge in the pharmaceutical industry is the implementation of the Falsified Medicine Directive proposed by the European Commission, which imposes a new system of authenticating medicinal products in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The implementation of the new system will change the way the supply chain functions and adds new ways of introducing transparency throughout the supply chain.
This research will compare the features and functionalities of Blockchain technology to the regulatory requirements of the pharmaceutical industry and to the demands of the firms in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The possibility of using Blockchain technology for improving the documentation requirement set by the Good Distribution Practices guidelines and further improve transparency is also investigated.
An attempt is made to produce a simple design where Blockchain technology could be used to meet regulatory and business demands within the pharmaceutical industry, with the additional goal of improving transparency in the supply chain.
This thesis uses a case study approach. Through a literature review covering supply chain management and transparency, and empirical data gathering through interviews and documents, the regulatory and business demands in the pharmaceutical industry is presented.
Through a review of the features and capabilities of Blockchain technology, the requirements gathered through literature review and empirical data are compared and a system design will be proposed. This system design will be simple and will not account for the minutia in the regulatory requirements, but will focus on the larger issues such as documentation and authentication.
This thesis will show a theoretical basis for using Blockchain technology in the pharmaceutical supply chain to handle authentication of a medicinal product and the documentation required to follow the medicinal products. By incorporating standards, such as GS1, the Blockchain system could be better equipped to handle current practices within the pharmaceutical supply chain and provide a greater level of transparency to all supply chain partners.
The thesis acknowledges, that the infancy of the Blockchain technology is a challenge. Another challenge is the shift from a centralized paradigm to a distributed, decentralized paradigm. Before putting Blockchain technology in use on a larger scale further research is needed.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages84
SupervisorsMichel Avital