The management consulting firm has organized a group of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and retailers to explore radio frequency identifications (RFIDs) true ability to:
• enhance the safety and security of the pharmaceutical supply chain;
• improve the process of pharmaceutical returns management; and
* increase the efficiency of distribution operations.
Key project partners include Abbott Laboratories, Barr Pharmaceuticals, Cardinal Health, CVS Pharmacy, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Rite Aid, Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) and National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). The group plans to test how RFID technology can improve:
• expiration date management;
• lot and batch tracking;
• returns management processing;
• shipping and receiving accuracy;
• operational integrity;
• and product security and consumer safety, among other areas.
Separately, Sun Microsystems Inc. and SupplyScape have launched an "anti-counterfeiting" RFID package that protects pharmaceuticals as they move through the supply chain.
These developments sound promising, but I suspect RFID is still 12 to 18 months away from wide scale deployment at most companies. (Read why in my recent RFID feature in eWeek).
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