IBM recently unveiled a radio-frequency identification (RFID) system for tracking and tracing pharmaceuticals. The company's new software and services are designed to help manufacturers protect products from theft and fraud and avoid replacement costs for product recalls.
The system for the pharmaceutical supply chain uses a combination of RFID software and services to document and track the movement of drugs through the supply chain. RFID tags are implanted on products at the unit, case, and pallet level and authenticate the product from manufacturer to wholesaler to hospitals and pharmacies. Every tag is equipped with a unique identifier that can be linked back to descriptive product information such as dosage and strength, lot number, and product expiration date. In addition to consumer protection, the IBM system is anticipated to help manufacturers and distributors improve their own performance by reducing inventory, improve targeting recalls, and provide a faster response to market demand.