Blockchain-based verifiable tracking of resellable returned drugs

Mazin Debe, Khaled Salah, Raja Jayaraman, Junaid Arshad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


An enormous amount of drug supply is regularly wasted due to several reasons related to incorrect prescription, purchase of unnecessary quantities, drug intolerance, allergy, or interactions. On the other hand, these medicines may be needed by patients who cannot afford to purchase them. To address this challenge, we propose a fully decentralized solution that governs the return and redistribution of unused drugs that are fit for usage. Our approach exploits the decentralized blockchain technology, smart contracts, and decentralized storage systems such as the Interplanetary File Systems (IPFS).We develop a system that provides the ability for customers as well as pharmacies to return re-usable, resellable drugs for donation or resale at a lower price. The proposed scheme tracks the production of drugs from manufacturers to traders that subsequently sell them to customers. Unused drugs can be returned after approval by specialized entities and then redistributed. In particular, we present the decentralized system architecture and implement a prototype on a test Ethereum blockchain platform to present the suggested workflow. Further, we provide system evaluation focused on assessing system functionality, performance, execution cost, and security of smart contracts and their robustness. We have also made our smart contracts code publicly available on Github.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)205848-205862
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020


  • Blockchain
  • Ethereum
  • Healthcare
  • Returned drugs
  • Trustworthy tracking


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