Pistoia Alliance Encourages Collaboration By Big Pharma On Blockchain Initiatives

The Pistoia Alliance is a not-for-profit association of life science companies, vendors, publishers, and academic groups. Its mission is to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences research and development.

On Monday, June 26, the Pistoia Alliance released survey results which demonstrated enthusiasm for blockchain in the pharmaceutical industry. A significant majority of respondents (83 percent) expect blockchain adoption within the next five years.

As such, the Pistoia Alliance is promoting cooperation between stakeholders, especially during the early phases of adoption. The alliance advises that industry-wide data sharing standards will enhance security and inspire patients to share their data with companies. These advances could benefit researchers and patients today and down the road.

45 percent of survey respondents pegged regulatory issues as the biggest hurdle to widespread adoption of blockchain technology. Potential concerns about data privacy (26 percent) were a distant second.

In terms of use cases, 68 percent of survey respondents believe that blockchain will have the greatest impact by “ensuring an auditable trail to safeguard drug provenance,” or tracing the origin of a drug. 60 percent of respondents also noted the opportunity for storing medical records using blockchain technology.

In an email to ETHNews, Nick Lynch, a consultant for The Pistoia Alliance, explained that blockchain has piqued the interest of the pharmaceutical industry “due to its ability to provide a secure, scalable, disintermediated system for data storage.”

Lynch also explained that blockchain will shift power “from practitioner to patient” since patients will control their data and how it is used. “In the future, patients could even monetize access to their personal data, giving individual companies access to ‘blocks’ of their data for research purposes.”

“This shift is changing the entire model of healthcare from early R&D all the way to frontline delivery. The pharmaceutical industry must collaboratively explore solutions that enable patients to control their personal data, while ensuring they retain access to data for their own R&D projects.”