IBM Develops RFID System for Pharmaceutical Track and Trace

August 24, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

IBM Corporation (www.ibm.com) has combined radio-frequency identification (RFID) software, technology, and services to develop a track-and-trace system for pharmaceutical products.

White Plains, NY (Aug. 8)  – IBM Corporation (www.ibm.com) has combined radio-frequency identification (RFID) software, technology, and services to develop a track-and-trace system for pharmaceutical products. The system embeds RFID tags on products at the unit, case, and pallet level and authenticates the product from manufacturer to wholesalers, hospitals, and pharmacies. Each tag contains a unique identifier that can be linked back to descriptive product information such as dosage and strength, lot number, manufacturer, and expiration date. The system is based on the company’s “WebSphere” software platform.

Renard Jackson, executive vice-president for Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH, www.cardinalhealth.com) announced the company’s partnership with IBM in a pilot program involving RFID technology to “determine its feasibility and effectiveness in a real-world setting.”

With an estimated 8% of the world’s prescriptions every year reportedly counterfeit, the US Food and Drug Administration has called on pharmaceutical manufacturers to start taking larger steps toward securing their supply chain and implement track-and-trace technology, including RFID systems (see “Cracking Down on Counterfeiting” on page 46 of Pharmaceutical Technology’s August 2006 issue).