Pharma Industry Slow with RFID

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

In efforts to accelerate radio-frequencyidentification (RFID), the FDA wasexpected to release new, more vigorousguidelines for pharmaceutical adoptionof RFID. Two years ago the FDA'sCounterfeit Drug Task Force issued areport urging the adoption of RFID at theunit of sale level by 2007. The FDA alsoplans to conduct internal testing thissummer to guarantee that biologics willremain stable in the presence of radio-frequencytechnology.

Yet, the pharmaceutical industry isbarely using the technology. Only 2 drugcompanies are employing RFID, and eachwith a single product line, according toPaul Chang, associate partner of IBMBusiness Consulting Services. ScottGottlieb, MD, FDA deputy commissionerfor medical and scientific affairs, said duringa recent drug counterfeiting conference,that a number of factors contributeto the existing impasse, including costand logistic difficulties in setting up andmanaging the system.

Despite these factors, RFID implementationremains a top priority for theagency and is viewed as one of the onlysolutions to a growing drug counterfeitingproblem. According to the WorldHealth Organization, global drug counterfeitingis a $32-billion-a-year business.