Shoppers Drug Mart is using blockchain technology to help doctors and pharmacists ensure the quality of medical cannabis.
Ken Weisbrod, vice-president of business development for Shoppers, says his company has started a pilot program to test the idea. Shoppers has signed a deal with TruTrace Technologies for software to track medical cannabis from seed to final product.
He made the announcement recently at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B.
Weisbrod said the source of medical cannabis must be traceable for patients and practitioners to feel confident about it as a treatment. He said 6,000 to 7,000 doctors are prescribing marijuana on a regular basis, but there are about 85,000 physicians in the country, so most are not yet doing so.
Weisbrod said when a patient takes medication, there is an expectation that it is standardized and has been proven with consistent clinical outcomes and results. A pharmacist wants to be able to scan a bottle of medical cannabis and get full information on the product.
A blockchain tracking mechanism will provide a way to show the movement of batches of cannabis from farm to store, including the time and date it was picked, the location, when it was processed and its shipment to a store.
The current tracking Health Canada tracking mechanism asks cannabis retailers to submit sales and inventory data to their respective provincial authorities once a month.