Saving Lives with PKI and SAFE Digital Signatures

At last week’s RSA Security Conference, Adobe participated in a panel discussion (click here for presentations) on how the BioPharma industry is using digital signatures in PDF to bring life saving drugs to market faster, cheaper, and more securely. The panel was moderated by Richard Guida from Johnson & Johnson, and also included Guy Talent from GST Advisors, Matthew Tuttle from Cybertrust, and John Landwehr from Adobe.

The panel discussed how the highly competitive BioPharma industry joined forces to create SAFE – Signature and Authentication For Everyone – a user identity standard and network for healthcare. This global standard enables more trusted, secure and legally enforceable paperless healthcare transactions. SAFE provides a common credential for access control to internal and business partner systems, replacing hand-written paper signatures with digital signautres in PDF documents.

This initiative was created because approximately 40% of all R&D costs are due to paper based business processes – totalling $9 billion in the US drug market alone. Instead of driving up to the FDA’s doorstep with a semi-tractor trailor filled with millions of pages of paper, new drug submissions can be sent electronically. This allows submissions to be completed and approved faster, bringing new life saving drugs to market faster. By creating, moving, and storing less paper – this process is expected to save more than $350M per year in the biopharma industry, which should help keep everyone’s healthcare costs down.

An electronic document alone was not sufficient without providing security measures to track authenticity and integrity of the electronic information. Digital signatures are used so these electronic documents are cryptographically signed from investigators, to clinical research organizations, to sponsors, and ultimately to the FDA – to significantly improve the security of these documents as they move from organization to organization.

Adobe has joined the SAFE vendor partner program so the ubiquitous free Adobe Reader as well as Adobe Acrobat and Adobe LiveCycle Solutions can be used for exchanging electronic healthcare informaiton. Click here for more information.