Blockchain can Stop Unsafe Supplements in the Supply Chain

Blockchain can Stop Unsafe Supplements in the Supply Chain

By Pharma Tech Outlook | Thursday, February 07, 2019

The supplement industry is thriving, and it is worth $50 billion in the U.S alone. While some supplements are original and have nutrients for people to get healthy, some of them are fake. The regulation process of nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals is different, which is problematic. In a recent uproar caused by supplements from retail stores where 4 out of 5 herbal products tested did not contain any herbs noted on their labels.  The food regulations authority found out that around 800 supplements sold over-the-counter included pharmaceutical ingredients.  

Supplements should be safe for consumption. Incorrect labeling is widespread in the market. For example, people want to know about the quality of fish used for extracting fish oil. Unfortunately, false labeling and low-quality ingredients are prevalent here. Mislabeling is not the only issue here. People are concerned about the herbicides like glyphosate in there herbal supplements. Without proper countermeasures, it is highly likely for the integrity of the ingredients to be compromised and the products to be intentionally in the markets. However, educating customers and proving the authenticity of the product is beneficial for the industry.      

At present, companies are not bound by regulations on providing supplements. The products are treated as consumer products rather than pharmaceuticals. Supplements don’t go through rigorous clinical trials. The food regulation authorities can only remove the product from the market if a problem arises instead of thoroughly vetting products before they are launched in the market. This means that manufacturers are responsible for quality for the ingredients and the products. The legislation is one of the options for quality control. Consumers have to act to get quality supplements. For this, they need a trusted source of information to help make the right choices.

Consumers have to ensure that the products are safe. The blockchain is ideal for tracking and tracing efforts and certifications for consumers to trust the legitimacy of the ingredients. Blockchain can provide evidence that the herbal supplements are pesticide-free or the expiry date of the product. If consumers know that the product is safely manufactured, then they will buy it. This can form self-regulation where quality products can be bought and sold without government intervention.  

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