WALMART’S INTERESTED IN USING BLOCKCHAIN FOR DRUG TRACKING

Walmart joined blockchain consortium MediLedger to test whether distributed ledger tech can power an improved system for tracking and verifying prescription drug shipments, per Coindesk. It’s unclear how exactly Walmart hopes to deploy blockchain, but it makes sense for Walmart to focus on its pharma supply chain given the volume of drugs the retail giant processes. Health and wellness — the segment of Walmart’s business that includes drug sales — accounted for nearly $36 billion in sales in 2018, or more than 10% of Walmart’s total sales.

Drug tracking has emerged as a popular use case of blockchain. 

The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) announced in February that it hopes to roll out a blockchain system for tracking drugs by 2023, and has since paved the way for companies to develop similar pilots. For example, the FDA okayed a blockchain pilot between North Carolina-based health system WakeMed, a blockchain company, and a pharmacy designed to clamp down on prescription drug theft.