Drug Makers Plan To Use RFID To Curb Counterfeiting

Big pharmaceutical companies are testing new tracking technology they hope will help them spot counterfeit drugs

David MacKay, the association's executive director, said he thinks anti-counterfeiting and tracking measures will disprove the pharmaceutical industry's main argument against drugs from Canada: that the supply chain is unsafe.

"We have nothing to hide. We've always been transparent. Bring it on," MacKay said.

Meanwhile, Hintlian at Accenture insists the issue hasn't been considered during the pilot project. He said the company hasn't examined how the technology would work with mail-ordered drugs.

For now, the Accenture pilot project is limited to four pharmacies, two owned by CVS and two by Rite Aid, and the distribution centers serving them. Each pharmaceutical company in the study has selected two medications to label. The names of the drugs and locations of the pharmacies were not disclosed.

Hintlian believes widespread use of RFID is possible by 2007 to 2008, though the tags may be limited to specific drugs that are in high demand and therefore prone to counterfeiting.

"The fact that we've started to embark at this pace and this focus suggests this is the direction we're going," Hintlian said.