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IBM looks to RFID to fight counterfeit drugs

IBM has released a new RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag designed to combat counterfeit products flowing through a supply chain. Aimed primarily at pharmaceutical companies, the RFID tags are placed on the product at the unit, case and pallet level and is tracked through the entire supply chain. Apparently, a pharmaceutical product changes hands as many as 10 times from the manufacturer to the point of sale.
From the article’s description, the RFID tag seems to be largely a passive tag. As the article indicates, the RFID tracking system is described as follows:

The IBM RFID system for pharmaceutical tracking and tracing uses blended RFID software and services to automatically capture and track the movement of drugs through the supply chain, according to IBM.

I do not claim any knowledge of how the IBM system works but it does seem that its capability depends on adoption across the pharmaceutical supply chain by the many partners that are situated up and down the chain. Also, it isn’t clear whether the unit, case and pallet level tags are identical or different. Since the tag is most likely a passive one, there are software services and objects behind the scenes that collect, organize and report on the state of the products in the supply chain.
So is this Innovation or Application? The latter, I think.

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Category: RFID, Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain News

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August 2006
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