Cardinal Health, Inc., an Energizer Bunny of pharmaceutical products and services in the health care industry, is moving to Phase II of its first “the “end-to-end pilot program” to test RFID in the drug supply chain.
The pilot program will begin to tag medication with labels carrying unique data that can be captured and read to verify its authenticity at each step of the supply, says the the Dublin, Ohio company.
What’s even more exciting was the little nugget of info at the bottom of the press release:
“Cardinal Health is working with Pfizer on a separate RFID pilot to authenticate Viagra® shipments at its Findlay facility.”
Yes, there will be challenges in securing the drug supply chain, but early birds on the pilot tip will get the big worms. You’ll see. (Check out the full announcement, below)
Cardinal Health Announces Next Phase of RFID Pilot
Tuesday May 9, 9:16 am ET
DUBLIN, Ohio, May 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – Cardinal Health, Inc., the leading provider of products and services supporting the health-care industry, today announced the next phase of the first end-to-end pilot program to test technology that could improve the safety and efficiency of the nation’s drug supply. The pilot program will begin to tag medication with labels carrying unique data that can be captured and read to verify its authenticity at each step of the supply chain.
Verifying the authenticity of pharmaceuticals along each step of the distribution path adds an additional layer of security to lessen the chance of counterfeit pharmaceuticals entering the supply chain. In addition, the data gathered could improve efficiency as logistics experts at Cardinal Health will be able to analyze the data to identify bottlenecks, read rates and other opportunities to improve efficiency in the supply chain.
“Cardinal Health is the first company in health care to comprehensively test RFID technology at the unit level in a real-time setting, beginning with product labeling and packaging, and then as it travels through the distribution center to when it is received by a customer,” said Renard Jackson, executive vice president of packaging services for Cardinal Health. “The layer of security and the operational efficiencies this technology adds to the pharmaceutical supply chain would benefit drug manufacturers, pharmacists and ultimately consumers.”
In conducting the end-to-end pilot program, Cardinal Health will use new technology to place radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on the labels of brand-name and generic solid-dose prescription drugs at the company’s Printed Components facility in Moorestown, N.J. Next, the company’s facility in Philadelphia will encode the electronic product code (EPC) standard data at the unit, case and pallet levels during the packaging process. The products will be then shipped to a Cardinal Health distribution center in Findlay, Ohio, where the data will be read and authenticated as products are handled under normal operating conditions. Normal operating procedures will be enhanced with RFID hardware and software from Alien Technology Corporation and IBM along with project management support from VeriSign.
From Findlay, the tagged product will be sent to a health-care provider to further test read rates and data flow using the same technology as the distribution center. The product dispensed to patients will not be in the RFID packaging.
The company launched the pilot in February and expects to complete the test in the fall. In addition, Cardinal Health is working with Pfizer on a separate RFID pilot to authenticate Viagra® shipments at its Findlay facility.
About Cardinal Health
Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH – News) is a $75 billion, global company serving the health-care industry with a broad portfolio of products and services. Through its diverse offering, Cardinal Health delivers integrated health-care solutions that help customers reduce their costs, improve efficiency and deliver better care to patients. The company manufactures, packages and distributes pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, offers a range of clinical services and develops automation products that improve the management and delivery of supplies and medication for hospitals, physician offices and pharmacies. Ranked No. 19 on the Fortune 500, Cardinal Health employs more than 55,000 people on six continents. More information about the company may be found at http://www.cardinalhealth.com.