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IBM Targets Pharmaceuticals With Blockchain Supply Chain Tech

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As IBM continues its exploration of how blockchain could disrupt supply chain management, the technology firm has partnered with Hejia to introduce a solution targeting the pharmaceutical space.

Reports this week said the companies have together launched a blockchain-based supply chain finance solution targeting procurement processes in pharmaceuticals. The tool is launching in China, where, reports said, SMEs in the pharmaceutical supply chain often struggle to access financing; small suppliers sometimes wait up to 90 days to see their invoices paid, IBM and Heija said.

“The launch of the supply chain financial services platform marks a milestone for the cooperation between Heija and IBM on the innovative application of blockchain technology,” said Heija Board Chairman Leng Tianhui in a statement. “In the future, the platform will expand to include more industries to provide participating companies and financial institutions with transparent and efficient financing services built on blockchain-based innovation in a business model that will contribute to China’s economic development.”

Using the Yijian Blockchain Technology Application System, IBM and Heija integrate Hyperledger Fabric for the tool that can track transactions across the supply chain to ensure transparency and authenticity, the companies said, adding that this assurance could lead to faster supplier payments.

“Overall,” IBM and Heija said, “the platform is designed to help reduce the turnover time of funds on both sides of the supply chain and allow banks to be more informed and grant access to funding for small and medium pharmaceutical retailers.”

The solution is already working with one pharmaceutical retailer, a hospital and a bank to facilitate transactions between these parties. The companies said they plan to add more retailers, hospitals and banks later this year.

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