GlaxoSmithKline Looks To RFID To Protect Patients Against Counterfeit Medicine

As part of a pilot project to help protect patient safety, GlaxoSmithKline has begun distributing a medicine tagged with RFID. The tags will be placed on all bottles of Trizivir (an HIV medicine) distributed in the United States. When scanned at close range, the tags will help verify that the medicine bottle contains authentic Trizivir. This specific medicine was selected for the project because it has been listed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as one of 32 drugs most susceptible to counterfeiting and diversion.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked the pharmaceutical industry to develop standards and pilot processes for RFID that may lead in the next few years to broad adoption and use of the technology.

"The hope is that RFID tags can tighten the supply chain even further to help assure patients that the medicine they buy is indeed the medicine their doctor has prescribed," said Mark Shaefer, vice president of the HIV and Infectious Disease Medicine Development Center at GlaxoSmithKline

RFID tagged bottles of Trizivir will begin appearing on pharmacists' shelves in mid April.

GSK has worked with IBM to design and build the technology in the pilot program, which allows GSK to tag each bottle with a unique product code.


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