Bloomberg: Pot-Tracking Blockchain System Could Be Used by CVS, Walgreens

TruTrace Featured on Bloomberg: 

Canada’s largest pharmacy chain and the provider of a blockchain program for tracking medical pot believe their partnership will act as a model for U.S. drug stores like CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

Shoppers Drug Mart, a unit of Loblaw Cos. with about 1,300 pharmacies across Canada, is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. on a pilot program that will use blockchain to identify, track and verify the source and genetics of cannabis used by medical patients. The goal is to make it more like traditional medicine in order to reassure physicians and patients that pot is a safe treatment, said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers’ vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

 “This is the future for medical cannabis in the world,” Weisbrod said at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick, in his first-ever public remarks about Shoppers’ pot business. “I know the U.S. is looking at what we’re doing here, and it’s really important that we take this leadership stance.”

 Los Angeles-based TruTrace sees big opportunities for its track-and-trace software in the U.S. CBD market. The U.S. legalized cannabidiol derived from hemp late last year, but some products have been found to contain less CBD than advertised, or even none at all. CVS and Walgreens, along with other major chains like Kroger Co., have begun selling CBD lotions and balms at some of their stores.

 “We think this push with Shoppers will hopefully lead into a similar relationship with the Walgreens and CVS’s of the world,” TruTrace Chief Executive Officer Robert Galarza said in an interview at the conference. “There’s skepticism right now from the medical industry and we’re trying to help breach that; it all boils down to information. Information is power, data is power.”…

 

Shoppers Drug Mart to Pilot Blockchain-Secured Traceability Program for Medical Cannabis

New relationship with TruTrace Technologies expects to bring greater industry accountability and better patient outcomes

TORONTOJune 17, 2019 /CNW/ – Today at the second annual World Cannabis Congress, Shoppers Drug Mart announced a new initiative with software company, TruTrace Technologies (CSE: TTT)(OTC: BKKSF) (“TruTrace Technologies”), to develop and deploy a blockchain-secured pilot program intended to increase transparency, interoperability and product identification within the medical cannabis industry (the “Pilot Program”).

The Pilot Program will use TruTrace’s StrainSecure™ technology as a central hub for identity management, asset tracking, validation, and product authentication. StrainSecure will also serve as a master registry for standardized testing, product verification, and quality assurance.

“We’ve gone to great lengths over the past six years to fully understand the challenges and opportunities that exist within the medical cannabis industry and taken steps to apply similar principles from traditional medicine to this new industry. The source of medical cannabis must be traceable and accountable for patients and practitioners to feel confident about it as a treatment,” said Ken Weisbrod, Vice President, Shoppers Drug Mart. “When a patient takes medication, there is an expectation that it is standardized, and they can expect consistent clinical outcomes and results. Although that’s not always a guarantee within the medical cannabis industry at the moment, we’re hoping this new program can help change that.”

“This is a significant milestone that brings our technology together with one of the most trusted brands in Canada,” said TruTrace Technologies CEO Robert Galarza. “We believe it is a testament to our technology’s ability to bring transparency and integrity to the cannabis industry and our shared mission. This initiative should help researchers and clinicians to match therapeutic outcomes to specific genetic and chemical profiles, and provide physicians, pharmacists, and patients with greater confidence in the products they prescribe or consume.”

Phase 1 of the pilot program is expected to be completed by July 31, with full production and implementation targeted for late November 2019.

About Shoppers Drug Mart:
Shoppers Drug Mart is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing. The company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec). With almost 1,300 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada. The company also licenses or owns 47 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec), and provides cosmetic dermatology services at two standalone locations, the Beauty Clinic. As well, the company owns and operates 43 corporate Wellwise by Shoppers Drug Mart stores and an ecommerce site Wellwise.ca, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home health care products and services. In addition to its retail store network, the company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to long-term care facilities. Shoppers Drug Mart is an independent operating division of Loblaw Companies Limited.

About TruTrace Technologies:
TruTrace Technologies has developed the first integrated blockchain platform to register and track intellectual property in the cannabis industry. Their technology allows cannabis growers and breeders to identify and secure rights to their intellectual property. It also streamlines the administrative process and reduces the costs of mandatory genetic quality control testing for legal cannabis. The technology is proprietary, immutable, and cryptographically secure, thereby establishing an accurate and permanent account for cannabis strains from ownership to market.

Disclaimer for Forward-Looking Information
Forward-Looking Information: This press release may include forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, concerning the business of TruTrace Technologies and Shoppers Drug Mart (collectively, the “Companies”). Forward-looking information is based on certain key expectations and assumptions made by the management of the Companies., including the statements regarding: the Pilot Program, including its intended scope, characteristics, and perceived benefits; the ability of TruTrace Technologies’ platform to bring transparency and integrity to the cannabis industry; that the initiative should allow researchers and clinicians to match therapeutic outcomes to specific genetic and chemical profiles, and provide physicians, pharmacists, and patients with greater confidence in the products they prescribe or consume; that Phase 1 of the Pilot Program is expected to be completed by July 31, with full production and implementation targeted by for November 2019.  Although the Companies believe that the expectations and assumptions on which such forward-looking information is based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking information because the Companies can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release. The Companies disclaim any intent or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, other than as required by applicable securities laws. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking information necessarily involve known and unknown risks, including, without limitation, risks associated with general economic conditions; other parties involved in the Pilot Program; that sufficient numbers of researchers, clinicians, physicians, pharmacists, and patients will be available to participate in the Pilot Program; potential negative results of the Pilot Program; adverse industry events; loss of markets; future legislative and regulatory developments; inability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources, and/or inability to access sufficient capital on favourable terms; the cannabis industry in Canada generally and other risks, events or circumstances that may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Companies. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information contained in this news release.

SOURCE TruTrace Technologies Inc

For further information: TruTrace Technologies Inc: Robert Galarza, Chief Executive Officer and Director; Media Relations: Corey Herscu, RNMKR Agency, 416-300-3030, corey@rnmkr.agency; Investor Inquiries: Swapan Kakumanu, Chief Financial Officer, 403-681-2549, swapan@trutrace.co

Shoppers Drug Mart Announces Partnership with TruTrace Technologies Inc. to Help Guarantee Product Quality and Genetics From Genome-to-Patient

Shoppers Drug Mart is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. (TTT.V) to bolster its medical cannabis retail platform. The Vancouver-based company’s blockchain-based software is designed to guarantee product quality and genetics throughout supply chain from genome-to-patient.

The pharmacy giant said the move brings medical cannabis closer in line with standards for other drugs in a statement to Yahoo Finance Canada, ahead of the deal’s announcement at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B. on Monday.

“Medical cannabis should have the same levels of traceability and accountability as any other drug therapy in order for patients and prescribers to feel confident about it as a treatment,” said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers Drug Mart’s vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

“When a patient takes any other medication there is an expectation that the medicine is standardized, and they can expect consistent clinical outcomes and results. Although that’s not always a guarantee with medical cannabis at the moment, we’re hoping this new program can help change that.”

TruTrace’s pilot project with the wholly-owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Limited (L.TO) will allow the company to track real-time data from licensed producers and testing labs, including product genetics, providence, quality and shipment information. The data will be securely added to a blockchain ledger where it can be viewed by Shoppers Drug Mart, and accessed to varying degrees by authorized labs, licensed producers and patients.

The pilot phase, which is expected to last until the end of July, will see the technology applied to a limited number of products for sale on the Shoppers Drug Mart medical cannabis website. The program is expected to ramp up to handle a larger volume of products by November.

TruTrace chief executive officer Robert Galazara said his company was initially met with skepticism by the Shoppers Drug Mart team.

Due to its former name, BLOCKStrain Technology Corp., the company was swept up in investor hype around both cryptocurrency and cannabis. TruTrace ditched that moniker in April to better reflect its focus.

Galazara said he spent nearly a year selling Shoppers Drug Mart on the merits of a secure digital ledger to track cannabis before orders reach distribution warehouses.

“In cannabis, testing and providence has been a big issue. People just don’t know what they are getting,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada in an interview.

He points to recalls issued by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control after a lab was caught falsifying pesticide test reports. TruTrace hopes to one day gather data directly from testing equipment in order to eliminate the risk of human interference.

The company’s StrainSecure software tracks cannabis from genome-to-patient, assuring retailers and end-users that products are authentic by securely adding information to the blockchain at each stage of growth and processing.

“If am regulating a product, and I can’t tell the difference between any of that product, how do I have any chance of having real oversight over who is growing legally, who is buying legally, who is labelling or mislabelling products, and who is actually holding themselves to a higher business standard?”

The company’s existing contract with Shoppers Drug Mart includes a payment of $300,000 for the proof of concept build, plus ongoing service fees.

“We have become such a value proposition for organizations like Shoppers. I don’t really care what you want to call a particular strain. We need to be able to authenticate that when you sell the product six months from now, that a product is the same exact product that you were selling previously,” Galazara said.

“Part of the reason we utilize blockchain is to be able to say that this cannabis was tested on this date. That record exists forever.”

By capturing plant genetics directly from labs, StrainSecure helps licensed producers protect intellectual property and streamline reporting with regulators.

The company expects to work with about a dozen producers in Canada, including several that supply Shoppers Drug Mart with medical cannabis such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO), Tilray Inc. (TLRY), and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO)

For dispensaries and consumers, the platform uses QR codes to instantly deliver a wealth of product information. Shoppers Drug Mart customers will scan codes from the company’s website, and eventually on product packages, if regulations allow it.

 

TruTrace can also mitigate the risk of companies like Shoppers Drug Mart taking delivery of cannabis they cannot sell.

“Shoppers is going to have visibility and verification that a product is exactly what it is supposed to be before it hits their doors,” Galazara said. “Today, if it’s not the right product, or it doesn’t test out the right way, or the COAs (certificate of authenticity) don’t match . . . you are dealing with massive backlogs where you have to destroy product you are now financially responsible for.”

Galazara sees the company as a much-needed conduit for transparency in an industry were all the regulations and procedures are new and largely untested.

Verifiable data will play an important role in keeping cannabis industry players honest, especially in the event companies fall on hard times and attempt to cut corners.

Galazara predicts that risk will be particularly acute in Canada, as competition from the United States intensifies.

“We all know out of all the licensed producers in the marketplace, at least half of them or more are going to be gone in five years,” he said. “What is going to happen when any sort of difficulties fall into play? You are going to see people cutting corners.”