Business & Finance
05:21 PM

Pharmaceutical Adoption Of RFID Slower Than Expected: Report

Cost and uncertainty over the status of legislation will limit the number of medications tagged on a large-scale to 10 this year.

Adoption of radio frequency identification technology by the pharmaceutical industry may not be happening as quickly as once forecast, according to a report released this week.

Given the high cost of drugs and the growing problems of drug counterfeiting and theft, expectations were high in 2004 and 2005 that the number of drugs tagged with RFID transponders to ensure their pedigree (the ability to trace a drug shipment's custody through a supply chain) would grow rapidly. Those expectations were fueled by a number of high-visibility RFID trials in the last 18 months involving drugs such as OxyContin and Viagra.

In December Pfizer began putting RFID tags on all Viagra shipments in the U.S. The drug maker is spending about $5 million on the project, using technology from Alien Technology to tag cases and pallets, and from Tagsys to tag individual bottles of drugs.

But a study of RFID tracking in the pharmaceutical industry by ABI Research concludes that no more than about 10 medications will be tagged on a large scale this year. ABI attributes the slower adoption rate to the cost of RFID, a retreat from earlier hype about the technology, and the desire by many pharmaceutical companies to develop small-scale pilot projects before committing to large-scale deployments.

Another issue, according to ABI, is uncertainty concerning the current state of federal and state drug-pedigree legislation. There has been a moratorium on enforcing the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1988 because drug makers were not ready to meet its requirements. That moratorium doesn't expire until January 2007. Several states, including California and Florida, have enacted their own pedigree laws, but ABI says many pharmaceutical companies plan to use barcode technology to meet those requirements.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of October 9, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll