How critical prescription medications are can be gauged by the fact that the Indian Health Ministry banned 80 fixed-dose combinations in a single go, including painkillers and antibiotics. With this ban, the total number of drugs banned in the country went up to 405, all which have been prohibited on questions of ‘rationality and safety’.
This single study of a single country shows how important regulation is when it comes to drug manufacturing and distribution. In fact, the entire process needs continuous improvement in order to protect patients from the negative effects of certain drugs. Therefore, not only is the drug industry far from being perfect but it is also in constant need of advancements.
A Widespread Crisis
According to a report published by Forbes, the opioid crisis is a major challenge faced by the world today. In the United States alone, more than 42,000 deaths occurred in a single year due to drug overdose, in which around 42% of the cases involved a prescription. The report further cited a survey conducted in 2017 in which it was found that 11.4 million people misuse prescription opioids and that it resulted in an economic burden of $78.5 billion per year in the United States. Globally, around 27 million people suffered from opioid use disorders in 2016 alone.
And it is not just the painkillers which are causing serious harm to health. A study published in 2015 by The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) shows that there are around 33,000 deaths per year as a result of infections caused by the bacteria resistant to antibiotics in the EU/EEA.
A Solution in Making
Written prescriptions— even though they present relative ease for the doctors— are very, very risky, as already evident from the data cited above. This is the reason why the use of e-prescription has soared in the United States and elsewhere.
It has been proven several times that e-prescribing results in greater safety and enhances the quality of patient care. It almost eliminates the risks like the prescription of an incorrect and dangerous drug or dosage, duplication of therapy and tampering of information. Furthermore, the confusion created due to illegible handwriting results in about a million calls every year between pharmacists and providers. All of this delays patient care and can even, in certain cases, prove seriously harmful.
E-prescription not only eliminates the chances of confusion and disorder but also enhances visibility for the health care providers since they are able to see a full and clear record of a person’s health documents. They are also able to know if the patient has filled the prescription. This also helps in fighting drug abuse.
When the Solution Needs Another Solution
Despite its immense benefits, e-prescribing itself offers several problems that need to be overcome. These systems are very exposed to single-point failures and security issues. Moreover, it is highly likely that the collection of data is done inefficiently, thus mitigating other advantages of a digital system.
It is at this point that the mention of blockchain is inevitable. For a solution which not only provides access to all participants along the value chain but also maintains an unalterable record of everything, there is no technology as efficient as the blockchain.
It would allow the creation of a highly transparent database that can be fully trusted by all stakeholders, offering an unalterable record audit trail of events. Being decentralized, it also reduces the risks of single-point failures. Thus, it is capable of single-handedly eliminating confusions, abuse and other issues related to medical prescriptions today.
Expanse: Smart Solutions Need Smart Beginnings
Nothing can be changed completely overnight, a sustained and consistent approach is needed to bring about positive disruptions. The case of medical prescriptions, which involves a highly important and sensitive issue, also needs to be tackled in this manner.
While experts around the world are already trying to experiment with solutions that would bring in more accountability and responsibility, medical prescriptions and the drug industry as a whole still lags.
Expanse is an Ethereum based platform that allows you to create practical blockchain solutions to everyday problems. It allows the creation of dApps which are not merely experimentation but are capable of transforming the world as we know today. With its high scalability, it proves itself the best beginning for the creation of solutions that the world presently needs.
As the world is currently battling a pandemic, which has taught us all a lesson in healthcare, we must begin working towards refinement and improvement now. No time is too late to begin and no platform leads to more beautiful beginnings than Expanse.