RFID tracking technologies have grown in popularity in recent years. From logistics and supply chain management to inventory tracking, RFID certainly finds its applications in a variety of industries. The potential for enterprises in any sector to have smoother and more effective operations as a result of IoT technology-enabled RFID tracking is enormous. The pharmaceutical sector, in particular, can benefit immensely from the implementation of RFID.
The pharmaceutical industry could do a lot more with RFID technology, from considerably decreasing human errors to effectively identifying counterfeit drugs and products using RFID tagging. RFID is also expected to play a crucial role in increasing product traceability and optimizing product movement in and out of warehouses.
Benefits of itemized RFID tracking
Here are some ways in which RFID tagging or itemized RFID tracking can help the pharmaceutical industry.
- Reduced instances of counterfeit drugs and medicines
One of the primary issues that the pharmaceutical industry is now dealing with is the production and distribution of fake and counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit drugs frequently contain incorrect or absent active ingredients or the correct ingredients in the wrong dosage. As a result, (and not surprisingly, we might add) they are highly toxic and fatal and are therefore forbidden in the majority of nations.
Indeed, the WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that counterfeit drugs could account for more than half of the global drug market, and what’s more startling is that a large number of these counterfeit items originate in developing countries, such as Africa, part of Asia and Latin America, etc. India is one of the major suppliers of counterfeit drugs on the global market, with estimates ranging from 30-70 percent of all bogus medications coming from India.
RFID tracking and tagging is an excellent solution to this major issue. Product availability, process control, inventory management, hazard avoidance, and security in an organization can be collectively improved with the implementation of RFID technology. The use of RFID in the pharmaceutical industry makes it easier to verify a product’s authenticity. It can also be used to keep track of raw material data and track final goods from the point of manufacture to the point of sale. The widespread and successful implementation of itemized RFID technology in the pharma sector can not only combat the issue of counterfeit drugs but will also provide a safe and secure environment for consumers as well.
- Easier identification and tracking of products in the supply chain through itemized RFID
Despite the fact that barcodes are the most widely accepted method of electronic identification in the pharmaceutical sector, the fact that they can be easily counterfeited is a cause for concern. This is where the itemized RFID solutions come into play. Not only are RFID tags basically impossible to forge, but they also enable the assignment of unique numbers to each tagged item. This facilitates easier tracking and identification of products throughout the supply chain.
Even before they are sent to pharmaceutical companies, authorized producers will carefully tag each item. As a result, manufacturers will also have access to ingredient data. When medicine is manufactured, the data from these tags is checked and reported again. Ingredients, manufacturing dates, expiration dates, components and percent of ingredients, and other data are updated and then added to the medication packaging. In this way, the RFID tag on each item will display several pieces of information such as drug source, ingredient source, the proportion of ingredients, and so on, all of which can be analyzed further in medicine data to give patients better treatment and care.
- Efficient inventory management
Given that the pharmaceutical industry deals with a variety of materials, inventory and warehouse management is another critical concern. Pharmaceutical product management is also a crucial criterion of the FDA in every country. Medicines are one of the most essential products in pharmacies and hospitals, and they must be well-stocked. Other items, such as surgical equipment, masks, gloves, and syringes, should also be tracked and adequately stocked. It is here that RFID plays a critical role, allowing asset management software and systems to keep track of medicine expiration dates and stock levels.
RFID Tracking: Safer, More Accountable, More Efficient
The promise of a safer, more accountable, and more efficient supply chain in the pharmaceutical industry has sparked a lot of interest and demand for RFID adoption. Although the sector faces a number of challenges, including high costs, a lack of market experience, standardization issues, and technical limitations in fully implementing RFID, these will undoubtedly improve with the help of other technologies, and RFID technology will be able to demonstrate its full potential sooner rather than later.