Afghanistan turns to blockchain to fight counterfeit drugs

War-torn Afghanistan has lots of problems to solve, and counterfeit drugs are one of them. In a bid to bring a bid of standardization to their healthcare industry, they country is looking into using blockchain technology.

Afghan Voice Agency reported on Nov. 27th that Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with blockchain company FantomOperations to integrate blockchain technology into the country’s healthcare sector.

Under the stipulations listed in the MoU, blockchain technology would be used to identify counterfeit medicines, create medical registries in hospitals, and digitize patients’ files. 

When explaining the initiative, Ferozuddin Feroz, Health Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, stated: “The Ministry of Public Health is committed for the institutionalization of electronic government in the health sector, and the blockchain technology would help the ministry bring transparency, acceleration, and effectiveness in the related affairs.” 

“The initiative would help Afghans to receive standard health service across the country,” the minister added.

The past three decades of war have devastated the health sector in Afghanistan. According to the World Health Organisation, the counterfeit drug industry is valued at $30 billion a year. War-torn countries like Afghanistan are especially vulnerable. In April, the Medicine Importers Union declared that at least 40% of medicine and medical equipment enter the Afghan market illegally, and many of the pharmaceutical products are low quality.  

With blockchain’s transparent and immutable ledger, Afghan health officials will easily be able to track down the provenance of drugs and monitor the entire supply chain from production to sale. This announcement comes as a time when both the government and the public have expressed concerns over the level of counterfeit pharmaceuticals circulating throughout the country.  

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