Product authentication is an important part of business across all industries. According to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the trade of fake products constitutes 3.3% of global trade. This poses a significant threat to businesses as it can mean inferior or even dangerous products under your business’s name, affecting your bottom line.
Counterfeit products are not just available among common everyday items, but also luxury items and health care products as well. In 2020, the global counterfeit drugs market was estimated to be worth 200 billion U.S. dollars.
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a danger to public health, as they could cause severe side effects or prove fatal. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to find a solution on how to identify counterfeit drugs and prevent them from being sold on the market.
It is extremely crucial to identify the counterfeit drugs in the supply chain at the earliest by having an authentication process in place that can ensure that the products being distributed are genuine and legitimate.
What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that is being widely used to track inventory. RFID technology has traditionally been used in supply chain management to track commodities in warehouses. The RFID system can read the information tagged on the medication label, such as National Drug Code, expiration date, lot, and serial number.
Hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturers use RFID tags for authentication purposes and to ensure counterfeit prevention. The healthcare industry usually uses RFID product authentication to identify and track patients, medications, and equipment.
|Lowry Solutions provides RFID tracking and authentication products for all industries, including:|
Product Authentication with RFID
Traditionally, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies resorted to manual tagging and data association processes to identify medications. RFID-enabled products help expedite the product authentication process, allowing staff to focus more on patient care.
RFID-tagged medications also reduce the chances of transcription errors that might occur during manual data entry. This technology can reduce costs and improve safety in the supply chain. However, its implementation has been limited due to hardware and tag expenses.
RFID, barcodes, and QR codes are generally used by companies to track the movement and sale of products. Of the three, RFID tags are best suited for high-volume businesses as it has bulk scanning capacity, thereby helping staff in processing more products each day.
Tracking Products Using RFID
RFID uses radio frequency to identify and track electronic tags affixed to an object. In RFID authentication, every medication is given an RFID tag that uniquely identifies it.
When a pharmacist needs to replenish the inventory, the RFID technology instantly helps them locate specific medications, like those in a recall situation. Moreover, products with RFID labels include medication-related data that anybody can easily read.
RFID tags are usually concealed on a shipment label and have an electronic product code, which is a unique identifier for each item or serial number, which means no two items are the same. And therefore, counterfeiting an RFID tag can be quite difficult. .
This makes it possible to trace the drug’s journey more precisely along the supply chain. It also enables alerts to reject any shipment that cannot be traced back to the manufacturer via RFID scanning. The manufacturer can program RFID tags and safeguard them for information governance.
How Does RFID Product Authentication Work?
The primary aim of RFID in every industry is counterfeit parts prevention and guaranteeing that the end-users receive genuine products. RFID is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to transport data from an electronic tag affixed to an object to a reader.
The RFID system comprises two parts: the tag and the reader. The RFID tag includes non-volatile memory storage and can process transmission and sensor data using either fixed or programmable logic. With an RFID reader device, the tag transmits digital data back to the reader.
Passive tags are powered by energy from the RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags are powered by a battery and thus can be read hundreds of yards from the RFID reader.
The Use of RFID in the Medical Field
In the medical field, active tags track high-value or frequently moved items, and passive tags track smaller, lower-cost items that only need room-level identification.
The system provides information about the expiry date of medicines, and enables tracking of the current stock of drugs, making it easier to plan and monitor inventory.
RFID authentication can also be used to track other medical products, such as surgical equipment. With the manufacturer controlling the data, the RFID helps trace prescription drugs across the supply chain.
Installing RFID will help pharmaceutical companies in their counterfeit parts prevention procedure, by improving the visibility of their drug supply chain. RFID can also help the healthcare industry address the global challenge of how to identify counterfeit drugs. In addition, companies will be able to guarantee their brand protection.
Credit: Larolina Grabowska
RFID Product Authentication with Lowry Solutions
The RFID product authentication process aids in the monitoring of medication and supply cabinets, ensuring that they are not depleted or overstocked but rather refilled precisely on time.
Product protection is an essential step to ensure brand protection. The right authentication solution can help companies prevent the sale of counterfeit medicines globally and contribute to enhancing world health.
At Lowry Solutions, we help companies and organizations install RFID that meets their specific business needs. Our experts provide end-to-end support and help you better manage your healthcare assets.
Featured Photo Credit: SHVETS production