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PA Consulting (London) has developed a method of authenticating products at the point of dispensing. Using existing technologies, such as bar codes and RFID tags, the pharmacist can identify each product pack and access a secure database to authenticate the drug.
The company is setting up a pilot program in which six pharmaceutical companies are participating. The pilot will extend to 100 pharmacies across the UK.
ï¿½Our role is to provide the infrastructure and the equipment,ï¿½ explains Rob Whewell, managing consultant. Andrew Gill, also a managing consultant, believes this project will work well in the United States. He says they are talking to FDA about authentication at the point of dispensing. ï¿½We think itï¿½s really important that we get down to unique identifiers on every pack and that we have some degree of consistency and standardization within the industry,ï¿½ says Gill.
ï¿½The more times the product is handled, the more risk there is that itï¿½s not authentic,ï¿½ adds Whewell. With this solution, pharmacists will know with certainty that the products they are dispensing are genuine.
PA Consultingï¿½s solution works with either RFIDs or bar codes. However, Gill notes that there are certain advantages to using RFID. For example, RFID does not require line of sight. The cost may still be high, but as Whewell points out, ï¿½the cost and damage to reputations that counterfeit product is causing is enormous. RFID is an insurance worth considering.ï¿½