Merck plans to use a cloud-based software platform to better predict and prevent drug shortages, according to The Wall Street Journal. The platform, developed by healthcare software company TraceLink, will analyze in real time data from pharmacies, hospitals and wholesale distributors. By using analytics and machine learning, the software can improve predictions and help drugmakers better match drug demand. The software could also save drugmakers hundreds of millions of dollars annually by reducing waste and avoiding costs like expedited shipments, because it can track a drug's status at every step in the supply chain. The platform currently holds data on more than 6 billion drugs.