IBM’s ePedigree System To Combat Counterfeit Rx Drugs
IBM on Thursday launched an electronic "pedigree" system that will help fight prescription drug counterfeiting using radio-frequency identification tags, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.
The ePedigree system allows drug companies to create electronic certificates of authenticity for drugs and track them through the supply chain and into the hands of consumers. The tags also will keep track of expiration dates, batch numbers to be used in case of a recall and other information.
Chris Clauss, IBM Software's director of sensor information management, said the RFID tags are not a guarantee against counterfeiting, but they will "raise the bar" and make such activity more difficult.
A California law scheduled to take effect in 2009 will mandate that any drug distributed in the state has its pedigree attached, according to the AP/Chronicle. Past attempts to combat fake drugs -- including holograms and watermarks -- often were illegally "reproduced within months, to the point where brand managers could not tell the difference between the counterfeit and the real thing," the AP/Chronicle reports (Ortutay, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/9).