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Ensuring Patient Safety with Radiofrequency Identification Solutions
a report by
Associate Director of Logistics and Analytics, Cephalon, Inc.
Patient safety and wellbeing is the ultimate goal of all pharmaceutical recognized immediately that we needed to build partnerships in our field
firms; however, this can be assured only if the product being supplied is to expand our knowledge and improve our chances of being successful
securely passed along the supply chain from manufacturer to pharmacy in our endeavors. To this end, we have developed relationships with
and then on to the patient. These products are high-value commodities several leading companies.
that, unfortunately, are often the target for diversion and counterfeiting.
The biopharmaceutical industry is stepping up to the plate to introduce A major partner in our program is ADT Security Services. ADT has been
technology that will make it easier to quickly and accurately track their with us from the beginning and has provided significant support in
products using radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology, and helping us understand the physics of RFID and how we could use the
Cephalon, Inc. is one of the early adopters. technology for our benefit. In addition to performing the physical
installation of our readers and antennas, ADT has performed site surveys
Background and product-tag testing in its laboratory in Boca Raton, Florida.
Cephalon is an international biopharmaceutical company dedicated to
the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative In addition to ADT, we have partnerships with SysTech and OATSystems.
products to treat human diseases. Currently, we operate in four core These companies provide software that encodes our tags and captures
information from them after application to products/containers. ENC, a
boutique consulting firm, is our primary RFID integration specialist, and
Although we believe that we have
uses SAP RFID technology. We are also working with SupplyScape to
implement our Electronic Drug Pedigree System.
a secure supply chain, we recognize
that we can benefit from adding
The Auto ID Infrastructure (AII) developed by SAP is our internal electronic
product code (EPC) information service, and maintains our information
additional layers of security through the
related to available and utilized EPCs. SAP communicates with SysTech
implementation of product serialization
and OATSystems to provide blocks of EPCs for encoding and tagging.
When the tags are printed, they are encoded with the EPC and placed on
and an electronic drug pedigree system.
the package. After the quality assurance process is complete, the
association between the physical package and the EPC is transmitted back
therapeutic areas: central nervous systems disorders, pain, oncology, and to SAP-AII, along with additional details related to the contents.
inflammatory disease. We generated approximately $1.9 billion in gross
sales in 2008, and employ more than 3,000 people worldwide. In addition to the hardware and software vendors focused on the RFID
space, we maintain strong relationships with our trading partners, which
Cephalon has an entrepreneurial spirit, courtesy of founder Dr Frank enables us to understand their visions on the benefits and challenges as
Baldino, who is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the related to RFID.
Board. Therefore, when we were contacted by Walmart in 2003 with a
request to tag our products with RFID, it sparked interest in investigating
Brian Brown is an Associate Director of Logistics and
this technology. Although we could not fulfill the mandate at the time, Analytics at Cephalon, Inc. He is an experienced project
we recognized that RFID was a technology that we should investigate to
manager, leading company-wide implementations of a variety
enable us to comply with future requests and to promote a secure supply
of projects, such as business intelligence and radiofrequency
identification (RFID). He is leading several initiatives in
chain. We recognized the critical point was not if RFID would become a support of a safe and secure supply chain, which include RFID
required technology, but when.
and ePedigree initiatives. An experienced speaker, Mr Brown
has shared his vision of the benefits of RFID and ePedigree at
industry and technical events such as RFID World, RFID Live,
Radiofrequency Identification Partners and Sapphire, and the Healthcare Distribution Management Association/National Association
Although we had significant interest in exploring RFID in 2003, we
of Chain Drug Stores (HDMA/NACDS) RFID Healthcare Summit.
recognized that we did not have sufficient knowledge in-house to
implement RFID on our own. My Vice President, Randy Bradway,
© TOUCH BRIEFINGS 2009
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