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IBM unveils RFID system for secure prescriptions

Antony Savvas

IBM has unveiled a radio frequency identification (RFID) system for the tracking and tracing of pharmaceuticals.

It is estimated that one in 12 of the world’s prescriptions distributed each year contain counterfeit medicines. The US Food and Drug Administration has cited RFID as the most promising technology to help prevent such distributions.

With the RFID system, RFID tags are embedded on products at the unit, case and pallet level, authenticating the product from manufacturer to wholesalers to hospitals and pharmacies. 

Each tag contains a unique identifier – like a licence plate – that can be linked back to descriptive product information such as dosage and strength, lot number, manufacturer and expiration date.

The IBM RFID system for pharmaceutical tracking and tracing is based on the IBM WebSphere web services software platform, and on an architecture that allows customers to reuse existing assets – enabling them to build new applications quickly and at a lower cost for development.


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