Purdue Pharma, H.D. Smith To Introduce Prescription Drug Tracking System
Drug maker Purdue Pharma and wholesaler H.D. Smith are expected to announce on Monday the launch of a radio-frequency-identification tracking system for prescription drugs, a system that "could serve as a national model" because it is one of the first to comply with state legislation, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and H.D. Smith will begin using the system in July. Under the system, tags with radio antennae will be placed on bottles of Purdue Pharma's drugs, which are sold to H.D. Smith. As the drugs move through the supply chain, the tags are scanned and recorded to track where the drugs have been. Purdue Pharma and H.D. Smith are working with technology companies SupplyScape and Unisys to implement the system. Purdue Pharma has spent $2 million on the system.
States are increasingly pushing for legislation to track drugs from manufacturer to patient as a means of reducing counterfeiting. Although lawmakers and regulators appear to favor electronic systems, "some wholesalers and pharmacy operators have said an electronic system is too costly," the Journal reports. So-called "electronic pedigree" laws in Florida and Indiana will take effect in July 2006, and more than 12 other states are considering similar legislation (Won Tesoriero, Wall Street Journal, 5/31).