Blockchain and healthcare updates
PharmaLedger is a project under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (“IMI”) whose members are 12 global pharmaceutical companies and 17 other organizations spanning hospitals, universities, legal firms, and software development companies. It is Europe’s first healthcare focused blockchain business network and the largest blockchain business network that I know of in general. Furthermore, another way it is unique is that it appears to be convened by industry, and is thus vendor and technology neutral.
PharmaLedger’s self stated goal is the following:
… to provide a widely trusted platform that supports the design and adoption of blockchain-enabled healthcare solutions while accelerating delivery of innovation that benefits the entire ecosystem, from manufacturers to patients.
This would make PharmaLedger a platform first consortium, where a group of organizations come together with the intention to create a platform that supports multiple use cases (e.g. PhUN or HUN). The alternative is a use case first consortium which convenes a group around a particular use case (e.g. the Synaptic Health Alliance). In the past other platform first consortia have struggled to form consensus between their members as to what use cases to tackle and this will certainly be a key challenge for PharmaLedger going forward given how many members they have.
As for use cases PharmaLedger is focused on the domains of supply chain, health data, and clinical trials. This doesn’t add much clarity, but they do mention a “health data marketplace” at one point, which sounds like a place where patients can sell their health data. Being an IMI project, PharmaLedger will have 3 years to achieve its goals, so there is likely some period of time planned to align on use cases.
PharmaLedger will have to differentiate itself from other consortia (e.g. PhUN, MediLedger). I think there are two dimensions on which it should tackle use cases.
Providing solutions to industry wide problems for pharma companies, given the large number of pharma companies involved.
Use cases that require hospitals or CROs and pharma companies, given that these parties usually aren’t paired together in blockchain networks.
Again, given its size and platform first orientation, it will be difficult to align everyone around use cases. Nonetheless I am excited to see what PharmaLedger can accomplish.
A short article in Reuters covering MediLedger’s work in DSCSA compliance. Those of us following this space will find nothing new here, but it’s nice to see mainstream coverage nonetheless.
Ray has done a great job getting a wide range of blockchain and healthcare practitioners on his podcast. Check him out and give him a follow 👆🏻
EVENT: Blockchain and Digital Transformation in Health 2020 (February 26th in Austin, Texas)
If you’re looking to hear from industry practitioners and researchers then this blockchain and healthcare event is a great fit. A number of my colleagues and friends in the space will be speakers, and I'd encourage you to check it out.
What I’m reading this weekend
The Libra Association, after a string of drop outs by high profile financial services companies, has added a new member: Shopify. Like Spotify, Uber, or Lyft, the opportunity for Shopify is to make payments on the Internet easier, thus driving more e-commerce and business for those firms.
Libra provoked a strong reaction from incumbents after it was unveiled last year but has been relatively quiet in the past few months. I think Libra’s future is more bright than the conventional wisdom suggests and still believe that it will launch in some form.
If health economists were in charge of the health system, not a lot would change, with some notable exceptions. Medicaid would not have work requirements (which would be unpopular among conservatives in some states), and taxes would go up for Medicare and for employer-based health insurance (which would make it unpopular among just about everybody).
What should we make of this?
A good article highlighting many of the issues with our data economy today and briefly touching on potential solutions. It appears very influenced by Glen Weyl, whose work I am a fan of.
A warning: you’ll have to be pretty in the weeds to wrap your head around what happened here. At a high level someone used the idiosyncrasies of a couple popular projects on Ethereum to attacks that made them hundreds of thousand dollars in a single very complex transaction. The interesting part is that no code exploit was used here and all smart contracts ran as intended.
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