Linfinity CEO’s insights on the role blockchain can play in putting an end to fake drugs and the Taiwanese blockchain scene at the 2018 Asia Blockchain Summit
Linfinity CEO Anndy Lian discussed how Linfinity aims to eliminate fake drugs with Taiwanese online news website NOWNews at the 2018 Asia Blockchain Summit in Taipei, which drew over 3000 attendees.
Linfinity is a company in the blockchain industry that has a vision of integrating blockchain into the supply chain.
Anndy is also an investor in healthcare. He believes that blockchain has the potential to put an end to the pernicious problem of fake drugs.
“Blockchain’s unique traits of decentralization, transparency, and immutability can ensure that medications are safe and legal, eradicating the issue of fake drugs and thus ensuring the safety of patients,” he told NOWNews.
The counterfeit medications trade is insidiously common and highly lucrative.
In a major review of the problem last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) found out that the global fake drugs trade is worth USD 30 billion, and one in ten drugs sold in developing countries is fake or substandard, leading to tens of thousands of deaths.
It is becoming a growing threat as increased pharmaceutical trade, including Internet sales, open the door for bogus drugs to be sold more easily.
The problem is hard to track and spans the globe. If left unchecked, it will not only hurt those who take the fake drugs but everyone who needs to take medicine.
Fighting fake drugs with blockchain
The issue is particularly of interest to Taiwan, as the Taiwanese have seen fake drug scares roil their pharmaceutical industry in recent times. Just last year, counterfeit batches of Crestor brand lipid-lowering drugs were discovered in Taiwan. A recall was issued for all Crestor tablets following a discovery that two batches of the drug prescribed to 570,000 National Health Insurance patients were counterfeits made from a cheaper drug whose patent had expired.
Anndy emphasized to NOWNews, “To discern whether a drug is real or fake, you need to trace its production from the start. Blockchain provides a reliable system that can record all relevant information of a particular drug.
“What Linfinity is working towards is a vision where product users are able to know a drug’s authenticity and expiry date with a scan of a QR code, and are further motivated to do so by token rewards.”
Blockchain scene in Taiwan: Playing catch up?
Blockchain has yet to be regulated in Taiwan. It is still at a stage of discussion and speculation. However, Anndy said, “From my own experiences and observations, Taiwanese companies, no matter large or small, are all highly receptive towards blockchain.”
Linfinity introduces the application of blockchain to Taiwan local companies.
He thinks that blockchain should be embraced by all. He said, “When big companies promote it, they are often limited by old practices and systems. But as technology improves, everyone needs to catch up and think of ways to improve themselves, and consider how to integrate their operations with blockchain.
“As for small businesses with relatively less resources, they can make use of blockchain’s openness and transparency to explore the market.”
Anndy added that the most important task at hand is to quickly get blockchain to take root in Taiwan.
“Sometimes, only important information needs to be on the blockchain, so the margin of change is small. Therefore, companies should do so as soon as they can,” he said.
Binance founder Zhao Changpeng once pointed out that most countries in the world have already started discussing cryptocurrency in early 2018. Hence, that makes Taiwan slightly late. Regarding this, Anndy is of the opinion that it is not too late.
“Taiwan has an atmosphere of openness and freedom. It is even more open than Singapore. But the government needs to spend more time discussing with various businesses. “ Anndy said, “A good thing is that as Taiwan does not have regulations for the blockchain industry yet, Taiwanese businesses have a wider and more dynamic space for development.”