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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

FDA Promotes implementation of RFID for Transparency and Accountability

The FDA is promoting the implementation of RFID technologies in the prescription drug supply chain to achieve transparency and accountability. The mass serialization and identification of individual packages would be a requirement for this industry. This is a major obstacle, however if overcome, it could pave the way for the adoption of RFID technology, which could decrease the amount of theft and pilferage at various points along the supply chain. More importantly the technology could provide tracing information. This information could provide the historical tracking of a given drug from its source of production to its final sale off the shelf at a point of retail. As an example, a pharmacist might receive a prescription for a patient. The prescription might call for Risperdal. The pharmacist might run an epocrates check on their handheld PDA to confirm that the drug is appropriate for the patient, check and see if there are generic alternatives and confirm that the RFID tag for the drug in stock validates all the way back down the supply chain to the source of production. After validating the source of the drug, the Pharmacist or pharmacy for that matter could provide a seal of authenticity or approval on the drug to the patient. The patient would receive the additional confidence that they are taking a drug correctly prescribed and produced and sourced as intended and as approved by the FDA. The technology of RFID can document the historical logistics of a given tagged drug package and provide just such a history on demand in a relational database to pharmacists, doctors, inventory analysts, store managers, and even the CEO of a pharmaceutical company or chain of retail stores.