Pharma Industry Seen Rapidly Adopting RFID

Pharmaceutical firms to surpass CPG companies in use of radio frequency identification, providing cost savings in five key areas META Group

  1. Inventory Management: Along with enabling improved inventory visibility, RFID technology can merge identity with environmental information to create an individualized expiration date based on the environment's effects on the active ingredients.

  2. Recalls: In the event that a product recall is initiated, pharmaceutical organizations would be able to respond more efficiently and quickly in identifying the recalled product.

  3. Patient Safety: By combining RFID-tagged drugs with other positive identification measures (e.g., patient identification, unit-of-dose bar coding), the FDA estimates that most of the 1.25 million adverse reactions and 7,000 patient deaths annually in the United States due to drug errors could be prevented.

  4. Product Diversion: Diverting drug shipments from low-cost regions to higher-cost regions costs pharmaceutical organizations millions of dollars annually. Positively identifying shipments and tracking them to their intended destinations could significantly reduce the size of the "gray market."

  5. Counterfeiting: Drug counterfeiting is a serious health issue, particularly in poorer regions of the world. Current recommendations are to deploy two forms of anti-counterfeiting measures — one visible (e.g., holograms) and one invisible (e.g., RFID tags) — to implement formidable obstacles to counterfeiting.

For more information on trends relating to RFID, see the following articles:

For more information on the use of RFID solutions in the supply chain, see "Needle in a Supply Chain Haystack," the Net Best Thing column in the January 2002 issue of (now ) magazine.