A novel approach of tracking medication in supply chain

Student: Jesse Cheng
Table: COMP1904
Experimentation location: Home
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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According to the new research of the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low and middle-income countries is either low-grade or apocryphal. The counterfeit medicine market is responsible for 1 million deaths per year with a current market of around $80 billion. In fact, the counterfeit medicine industry is growing twice the rate of the pharmaceutical industry. The objective of the project is to build a global communication network for protecting the drug distribution supply chain and investigating drug counterfeit crimes. We want to make sure the drugs consumed by the patients are the right drugs and also to make sure that every user of our application is a genuine user with a valid identity.


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Research Plan:


According to the World Health Organization, about 10% of medical products in low- and middle-income countries are falsified. Falsified and substandard medical products present serious threats to the aspects of health and economics to all countries – even high-income countries. Researchers agree that improved supply chain surveillance and management is the key to addressing this global crisis which can be done through a novel approach: using blockchain technology to protect the drug distribution supply chain from counterfeits.


We are developing a Distributed Application (DApp) that will run on smart contracts, employing Swarm as the Distributed File System (DFS). Two instances will be developed: one for Ethereum and another for Hyperledger Fabric. The proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm of Ethereum will be modified into a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) or practical Byzantine fault tolerance (PBFT) consensus algorithm as it is scalable and fits the drug supply chain environment.


An open-source framework Hyperledger Fabric (v1.2) project hosted by Linux Foundation was used. Python (v2.7.15) and Node (v8.11.4) are a prerequisite of a Fabric network to develop client SDK. I used a Composer web-playground to design and develop the business network definition, and for deployment, we used a Composer CLI tool for the proposed blockchain platform. I used a Composer REST server to create the REST-API for the participant, assets, queries, and transactions to visualize the back-end business logic to the graphical user interface (GUI). The tool and technologies for GUI implementation for the drug supply chain management are mentioned in Table 2. The web application for the front-end was developed using HTML5, CSS3, and for dynamic programming, we used Java-script. In order to make the web application more efficient and user-friendly, we used third-party toolkits like jQuery and Bootstrap. The back-end and front-end interact with each other using a REST API server. The client performs some action on the web application that will trigger the HTTP method like POST, GET, PUT, and DELETE, which in response perform according to the client HTTP request.

Data Analysis:

Firstly, we will see if the network authorizes the user by validating the user ID, then the request will be initiated by the client to the REST server in order to submit the transaction to the proposed blockchain platform. In order to perform the transactions, we will see if the smart contract functions are triggered by the blockchain platform, which returns a response to the client after the successful execution of a transaction.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8711418
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147077/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29882861
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627742/
  5. https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/counterfeit-medicine-detection-using-blockchain-and-ai/






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