Fantom used in Afghanistan to combat counterfeit drugs

Fantom used in Afghanistan to combat counterfeit drugs

Fantom representative Ahmad Jawid Sikandar (left) with Royal Star Pharma President, Obaidullah Nooristany (right)

Today, Fantom is excited to announce the launch of our Smart Medicine pilot project in Afghanistan.

On 18 May 2020, a signing ceremony took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, between Fantom’s Afghanistan representative Ahmad Jawid Sikandar, and Obaidullah Nooristany, President Of Royal Pharma Ltd.

Fantom, with the endorsement of the Afghanistan Ministry of Health, has partnered with Royal Star, one of the biggest pharmaceutical distributors in Afghanistan; Nabros Pharma, a privately-owned pharmaceutical producer in India; and Bliss GVS, a public company listed on the National Stock Exchange of India and with revenues exceeding USD$120m. Fantom will be involved in the tracking of four products, one of which is a new hand sanitizer endorsed by the World Health Organization to help combat COVID-19.

The partnership was facilitated by SkChain, a leading blockchain consulting firm who connected the parties and initiated the talks.

Under this arrangement, Fantom, with our technology partner Chekkit, is in the process of shipping labels to attach to pharmaceutical products produced by both Bliss GVS and Nabros Pharma. Royal Star will scan these labels at each step of the distribution process, with a hash of the data generated, timestamped, and saved on the Fantom Opera Chain to create an immutable audit trail. Royal Star will be able to ensure that the data is authentic by comparing the hash of the data to the hashes that exist on the blockchain.

Each labelled item will contain a unique hash generated by eleven data points:

  1. Product name
  2. Batch no.
  3. Barcode no.
  4. Expiry date
  5. Production date
  6. FDA no.
  7. Producer’s name
  8. Location of scan
  9. Status of scan
  10. Time
  11. Date of scan

Counterfeit drugs are a huge problem in Afghanistan. Due to a lack of checks in the supply chain process, counterfeit drugs are mixed with legitimate drugs during the distribution process. Often, these counterfeit drugs are of poor quality, putting people’s health at risk. In a 12-week campaign against counterfeit drugs in 2017, “100 tons of expired, counterfeit and substandard medicine had been seized” across the country.

The venture will bring revolutionary blockchain technology to Afghanistan's healthcare sector, reducing the incidence of counterfeit drugs and improving the security of patient medical records. Under the terms of the program, Fantom will initially track 80,000 products across four different pharmaceuticals. Fantom will track Bliss GVS’s pharmaceuticals later in the pilot program once the COVID-19 security measures will be relieved, and they will be able to ship their products from India to Afghanistan.

The four pharmaceuticals are as follows:

  • 50,000 items of Hand Sanitizer: Produced by INSAF Pharmaceuticals, this was recently launched in order to fight COVID-19 in Afghanistan and is endorsed by the World Health Organization. Royal Star is the exclusive distributor of this product in Afghanistan.
  • 10,000 items of Free Joint Cream: Produced by Nabros Pharma, this cream helps relieve joint pain.
  • 10,000 items of Kofanol Chewable Tablets: Produced by Nabros Pharma, these tablets help relieve coughs, colds, and sore throats.
  • 10,000 items of Diacare Foot Cream (Diabetic): Produced by Nabros Pharma, this cream is specifically formulated for diabetics and is used to treat diabetes-related skin infections.

Labels will be attached to pharmaceutical products this month. The first of these transactions tracking medicines will be committed on-chain shortly after. The aim of this pilot program is to demonstrate Fantom technology and use cases in supply chain management, with the goal of rolling out the technology on a much larger scale throughout 2020.

Who's involved?

Fantom: The solution is built on Fantom's Opera mainnet, providing fast & secure consensus capable of scaling to the high transactional throughput required to power a country's entire healthcare system.

Chekkit: Chekkit provides supply chain tracking technology for companies across a variety of industries, from food staples to healthcare and hygiene. They have worked with companies such as Nivea and Indomie.

Afghanistan Ministry of Health: The Ministry of Health have committed to implementing the solution across the entire Afghan health service - and are interested in new and emerging technologies such as blockchain to solve a variety of issues.

Royal Star Ltd: One of Afghanistan’s biggest distributors of pharmaceutical products. The company distributes products from ten producers located around the world, such as the UK and India. They also work closely with bilateral and multilateral aid organisations such as the World Health Organization and USAID.

Nabros Pharma Pvt Ltd: Established in 1983, Nabros Pharma is a manufacturer and exporter based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. They are accredited by the World Health Organization’s Good Manufacturer Guidelines (GMP), the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S) based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nigeria), among other countries and organisations. The company manufactures products such as tablets, capsules, small volume parenterals, ointments, and oral liquids. They export to over 35 countries around the globe.

Bliss GVS: Founded in 1984, and headquartered in Mumbai, Bliss GVS is a publicly-traded company on the National Stock Exchange of India with annual revenues of USD$120m. They manufacture a variety of pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, anti-malaria, and anti-inflammatories. They export to over 60 countries.

INSAF Pharmaceuticals: The sister company of Royal Star, the company manufactures pharmaceuticals domestically within Afghanistan and distributes them to pharmacies across the country through Royal Star.

The collaboration between the parties was formalized by a signing ceremony on Monday, 18 May 2020, strengthening Fantom's position as the first-choice provider of blockchain solutions to many of Afghanistan's government ministries.

We, at Royal, are excited to partner with Fantom, working together towards this revolutionary initiative that will help solve the counterfeit drugs problem in Afghanistan.

-Obaidullah Nooristany, President @ Royal Pharma Ltd

This program is the first application of blockchain in Afghanistan; we are so happy to be applying it in the health sector to stop counterfeit drugs by making it easy to track pharmaceutical products. It's an important project for our nation, and we fully endorse it. After the pilot program, we will hold a celebration ceremony and support the initiative further moving forward.

- Dr Ghulam Sayed Rashed, Executive Director of National Medicine & Health Care Products Regulatory Authority.