RFID GIVES THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY A DOSE OF GOOD MEDICINE
Argentinean pharmaceutical supplier tries a new prescription for supply chain health
Laboratorios Gador supplies medications to nearly 2.5 million patients monthly through its distribution network, making it one of Argentina’s largest pharmaceutical companies. An industry innovator, the company was eager to test RFID’s ability to identify, track and trace its high value pharmaceutical drugs. That’s important in an industry that loses $200 billion each year to global counterfeiting. Could RFID technology help soothe this ill, while providing unprecedented insights into Laboratorios Gador’s supply chain?
To test RFID’s ability to track and trace Laboratorios Gador’s medications at the item, pack and pallet level, a system team of Telectrónica, Impinj, Zebra Technologies and SMARTRAC needed to overcome multiple technology challenges. These challenges included radio wave interference from medication form (liquids) and metal packaging (blister packs and tubes) at both the item and pallet level. Reading pallets, which included 360 packs of metal-wrapped medications stacked 18 rows deep, was especially difficult. In addition, the RFID system needed to encode tags and read variable data on a fast-moving packaging line without compromising production efficiency.
System integrator Telectrónica designed a state-of-the-art EPCglobal UHF Gen 2 RFID system comprised of Speedway® Revolution readers, reader antennas and bulk encoding software from Impinj; Trap™ UHF RFID inlays from SMARTRAC, RFID printers from Zebra Technologies and traceability software from Telectrónica.
The pilot successfully showcased RFID technology’s ability to track and trace medications, providing Laboratorios Gador with X-ray insights into their inventory and a sound second opinion on how to optimize their supply chain. If the company chooses to proceed with full implementation, the RFID system would increase inventory availability and delivery accuracy, while enhancing patient safety and confidence in authenticated goods.
A new strategy for ensuring supply chain health? Sounds like RFID should be wheeled out of the examination room and into the OR.