As counterfeit medication continues to transfuse through the pharma business, drug companies are getting more concerned about losing revenue and patients worry about safety. To fight the problem, IBM just launched its ePedigree system which can track a medication bottle from the point of manufacture to the eventual sale, through the use of embedded RFID’s (radio frequency identification) tags.
The system employs radio-frequency identification, or RFID tags, which are already used to track packages of drugs, especially ones popular with counterfeiters. Pfizer, for example, uses RFID chips to track packs of its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, and Purdue Pharma LP has been using them since 2004 to track its pain reliever OxyContin.
IBM’s ePedigree system helps drug companies create electronic certificates of authenticity for medications- down to the individual bottle – as they move from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies and hospitals.
“The whole time, the system is watching what’s happening, it records (the drug’s) life history,” said Chris Clauss, director of sensor information management at IBM Software.