How Prescription Drug Crisis Can be Prevented Using Blockchain Technology

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If you think drug addiction is solely caused by the commonly used illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and club drugs, then you are mistaken. Drug addiction can also be caused by few legal drugs and overdose of these drugs could even lead to death.

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According to the World Drug Report 2017  by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, globally, an estimated minimum number of 190,000 people die every year due to the drug overdose, majorly due to the use of opioids. Opioids are the pain relievers that act on the nervous system. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them and around 2 million people in the United States suffered from the opioid overdose disorders in 2015 which is way greater than the number of people who suffered from heroin use disorder(591,000).

As the existing systems mainly depend on the trust between the doctor and a patient, doctor and the pharmacy, patient and the pharmacy, its difficult to know whether a patient has seen multiple physicians in order to get the opioid treatment for a problem. Unfortunately, the current methods for dealing with over-prescription aren’t proper.

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But, thanks to a blockchain startup, BlockMedX, which is working on developing tools to end the prescription opioid crisis using blockchain technology. BlockMedX is a HIPAA-compliant, end-to-end solution to get rid of the handwritten prescriptions and use Ethereum blockchain to record an unchangeable history of DEA Controlled Drug Prescriptions.

How BlockMedX Works?

The Block medX runs on the Ethereum blockchain creating a cryptographically secure platform for the prescriber and a patient. All the physicians, pharmacies, and patients have to log in to a website that is related to the blockchain in order to access the prescription.

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The physicians can access to their personal prescribing history including all the other prescriptions of a patient to verify if he/she hadn’t visited any other physicians for the same prescription. Prescribing a drug can be done just by filling out an electronic form. The authenticity and security are maintained by a unique verification method using the platform’s MDX tokens where each prescription is paired to a token to validate the prescription, followed by the BlockMedX to sign the prescription on the blockchain to approve and add it to the ledger as an immutable record. The MDX tokens can also be used by the patients to co-pay at their pharmacy and doctor’s office.

Coming to the pharmacies, they have an approved list of prescriptions which can be accepted, declined or revoked by checking the patient’s full prescription history. If a prescription is valid and accepted, the pharmacy will receive the MDX tokens sent by the physician in their wallet. The patient can then pick up the medicines and the pharmacy will receive the payment from the patient through MDX tokens.

As the entire history of the prescriptions is logged on the blockchain, it will be useful for the pharmacies and physicians to prevent over-prescribing, and the government entities to track and crack down on the prescription abuses like the opioid crisis in an efficient manner.

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