Purdue?s RFID Pedigree Program Enters Pilot Phase

Purdue?s RFID Pedigree Program Enters Pilot Phase

In an effort to exert tighter control over the flow of drugs through the supply chain, Purdue Pharma (Stamford, CT) and the drug wholesaler H.D. Smith (Springfield, IL) are implementing a pilot program that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to verify drug authenticity.

The pilot incorporates a SupplyScape (Cambridge, MA) and Unisys (Blue Bell, PA) solution that tracks the distribution of the analgesic product Oxycontin from Purdue's manufacturing facility to the wholesaler. By using RFID electronic barcodes, also known as smart tags, to record the path of the drug through transit, the system is designed to detect whether counterfeit drug is being introduced into the supply chain. At any point in the supply chain, a tagged drug can be scanned to determine origin and authenticity.

“Pharmaceutical companies are looking to institute standards that safeguard consumers from the growing threat of counterfeit drugs,” said Todd Skrinar, partner, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Unisys in a company statement. “The implementation of an electronic pedigree system can help Purdue increase consumer safety. The system will also provide greater visibility into Purdue and H. D. Smith’s supply chains.”

This pilot is another phase of Purdue’s anti-counterfeiting and diversion plan launched in November 2004. The company has already shipped products incorporating RFID tags on individual labels to Wal-Mart and H.D. Smith, and expects the new test to help lead to national adoption of pedigree systems for all drugs. The state of Florida has taken a lead in this effort by enacting rules requiring electronic drug pedigrees by July 2006.

–George Koroneos