UMRF Research Park joins blockchain consortium to reclaim medicines and track prescription waste

 July 2, 2019 - The University of Memphis UMRF Research Park today became the second node in a nationwide consortium of prescription repositories, health care organizations and higher education institutions to reclaim medications and track prescription waste. The network, established by Good Shepherd Pharmacy, utilizes RemediChain’s blockchain technology to track medications across the country.

 “We are incredibly excited to be the first public research university joining the RemediChain consortium,” said Ted Townsend, Chief Economic Development and Government Relations Officer at the UofM. “The university consistently seeks to align partnerships that address challenges through innovation delivery. With $100 billion worth of medications destroyed each year while 32 million Americans report being unable to afford prescriptions, we are confident this consortium will change lives.”

 The network is developing the same way the internet and Facebook did – one university “node” at a time. Consortium members build and maintain servers to collect and track data on donated medications in their local areas. Each member organization pays an annual fee to support the consortium’s network and to access the data for research and other educational pursuits, which will allow them to generate further insights on how this work can benefit patients in the long run.

 “The RemediChain consortium is starting a nationwide movement to solve the financial and environmental problems of prescription waste while serving the most vulnerable patients,” said Phil Baker, PharmD, CEO of Good Shepherd Pharmacy. “Our country needs a national repository for donated medications, and we intend to build it. Universities and prescription donation programs in multiple states are partnering with us in this crusade. The University of Memphis witnesses the enormous need right here in our own community, and we’re so heartened to have a hometown partner join us.”

Baker has big plans for the network, which currently has two confirmed university members – the University of Memphis and Lipscomb University – and verbal commitments from two more. Since October 2018, the RemediChain platform has received more than $1.1 million worth of donated high-value oral chemotherapy medication, some of which has already been verified and dispensed to patients with demonstrated financial need. Oncology teams in participating states – Tennessee, Georgia, Texas and Iowa – can request specific medications from that donated pool to give to patients who would not otherwise be able to afford their prescriptions. For this network to grow farther and to serve more patients, it needs more nodes.

 “Ultimately, this consortium is the backbone of what we envision our health care future to be,” Baker said. “Working together, we can resolve some of our most basic and universal problems – beginning with the hundreds of thousands of Americans who go without necessary medication because they cannot afford it. The more partners we have in our network, the more lives we’ll be able to save.”

For more information, contact Troy B. Parkes tparkes2@memphis.edu.