FDA Could Use Blockchain for Medical Reviews and Recalls
The Food & Drug Administration campus in Silver Spring. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into incorporating blockchain technology as a way to improve drug and medical product reviews and recalls.

According to a speech held at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Third Interoperability Forum on 22 August, the FDA is looking into ways to modernize the way different agencies communicate. Speaking at the forum was Dr. Amy Abernethy, the acting Chief Information Officer of the FDA, and as she said, the agency is planning to use technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), APIs, and blockchain in order to improve the interoperability between health care providers, drug manufacturers, and regulatory agencies. She said:

“I want FDA to get our own technical house in order so that tech can ‘snap in’ – we can be agile and efficient. We need to be able to have common interfaces with industry so we can pass data between our organizations, have collaborative review, etc.”

Using blockchain technology will guarantee the data quality that comes from different sources. Being able to trace the information back to the source, will also allow for the FDA to “crosscheck, workflow solutions”. In addition, the technology will improve the surveillance of medical products, which will help with “determining when something should be recalled or a product label should be adjusted”.

Aberhenthy also suggested that a communication system, which allows regulators to receive real-time information and data, will speed up the review process. The improved surveillance of medical products will also assist in “determining when something should be recalled or a product label should be adjusted”. She also said that the plan to modernize the FDA’s infrastructure will be rolled out in a “month or two”.

This is not the first time that the FDA has looked into blockchain technology. Earlier this year, it partnered up with IBM and Walmart in order to develop a proof-of-concept (POC) blockchain network, which will track and share data on distribution of prescription drugs.

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