Electronic Screen for Counterfeit Rxs in Pharmacies
Citing an "immediate danger ofcounterfeit medicines entering the USsupply chain,"representatives of thenation's pharmaceutical manufacturerscalled on the nation's pharmacies toemploy "electronic authenticationtechnologies"to protect the publicagainst fake drugs.
In a new "White Paper"issued bythe Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturersof America (PhRMA), drugmakersspecifically endorsed the use of"2-dimensional bar codes and radiofrequency identification [RFID] tags tosecure the US drug supply againstcounterfeit threats."
More than a year ago, the FDA hadendorsed an electronic solution to thecounterfeit drug problem, noting thatthe use of RFID technology to establishan "electronic pedigree"for medicationswould represent the "single mostpowerful tool available to secure theUS drug supply."
PhRMA, however, had argued thatthe creation of an electronic pedigreesystem able to track the distribution ofdrugs from manufacturer to patient "islikely to be complex and not fullyachievable for 5 or more years."In theinterim, the association urged governmentand industry to "make progress inadopting electronic mechanisms thatwill permit the real-time authenticationof prescription pharmaceutical packagingdirectly at the dispensing level."
Authentication of drug products atthe pharmacy level can have an"immediate and lasting impact onpatient safety."Authentication can beaccomplished over the short term byusing "mass serialization and availableelectronic technology, such as bar codingor RFID tags,"PhRMA officials said.
Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.