Cardinal Plans to Use RFID in California

May 10, 2007
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Dublin, OH (May 3)—In preparation for California’s new pedigree legislation, Cardinal Health ( plans to integrate radio frequency identification (RFID) technology into the operations at its pharmaceutical distribution center in Sacramento by fall 2007. The legislation requires all drugs distributed within the state to be tracked and traced as they move through the supply chain.

Cardinal recently conducted an RFID pilot program, which tested the technology in a real-world setting. The company found that RFID technology that uses UHF as a single frequency is a feasible solution to track and trace pharmaceuticals at the unit, case, and pallet levels. RFID technology could add extra security to the supply chain because it allows item-level pedigrees to be tracked and traced as products move from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the pharmacy.

Cardinal views the project in California as an extension of its pilot program.  In a company release, Steve Inacker, Cardinal’s executive vice-president of global supplier services, said the company “look(s) forward to leveraging this work to further validate the effectiveness and viability of RFID technology in real-world settings, should it be adopted as an industry standard.” Cardinal plans to use the data made available by RFID technology to identify efficiency opportunities in such areas as returns and order accuracy.

Despite its own success, Cardinal says that there are some issues and industry standards that must be addressed before RFID technology can be adopted by the entire pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical supply-chain industry must agree on a standards-based approach and a single RFID protocol and technology to avoid process and cost inefficiencies. Also, to achieve acceptable read rates at all packaging levels, certain technology and process improvements must made.

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