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Singapore firm uses blockchain to battle counterfeit COVID-19 jabs

Singaporean healthcare services provider Zuellig Pharma is using a blockchain-based network to track COVID-19 vaccinations to prevent practitioners from administering expired vaccines.

Zuellig Pharma says that its new “eZTracker” management system can help prevent improperly stored or counterfeit vaccines from being used by allowing its clients to instantly verify the provenance and authenticity of their vaccines via a mobile app.

“Accidents involving expired or improperly stored vaccines can be avoided,” said Daniel Laverick, vice-president and head of digital and data solutions at Zuellig Pharma.

eZTracker uses the SAP blockchain to capture, track and trace multiple data points to improve supply chain transparency. The eZTracker website explains how it works:

“Simply scan the QR code on the packaging to instantly verify if your product comes from an authorized distributor.”

“Patients can scan the 2D data matrix on the product packaging to verify key product information like expiry date, temperature, and provenance through its app powered by blockchain,” added Laverick.

The SAP Blockchain executes operations as a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS), allowing its clients to develop customized blockchain extensions for their existing applications. According to SAP, 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches one of their systems.

Back in 2020, Zuellig partnered with pharmaceutical company MSD to deploy eQTrakcer in Hong Kong, where it was used to trace vaccines for Human Papilloma Virus, Gardasil.

“As the vaccines move through various handover points in the supply chain, the products’ data points are loaded into eZTracker’s secure blockchain ledger, and this ensures it can’t be tampered with,” Laverick explained at the time.

“Users such as healthcare professionals and patients are able to verify the authenticity of the vaccine by scanning a unique data matrix code on the product pack.”

Related: Fake vax certificates renew calls for blockchain-based solution in Australia

Founded 100 years ago, Zuellig is one of Asia’s largest healthcare service provider groups. Zuellig also has a product called eZVax, which specifically provides governments, local health authorities, and the private sector with end-to-end vaccine management.

Southeast Asia is a hotbed of fake meds with between $520 million and $2.6 billion spent on counterfeit medicines every year, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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