Management consultancy firm Accenture has formed a group of industry leaders that will work together to evaluate the potential of new radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to improve pharmaceutical product manufacturing, distribution and retail operations within the US.
The announcement was made on the same day that the US Food and Drug Administration issued a report highlighting RFID as the primary technological approach to combating drug counterfeiting.
The project will explore the application of electronic product code (EPC) and RFID to three areas: enhancing the safety and security of the pharmaceutical supply chain; improving the process of pharmaceutical returns management; and increasing the efficiency of distribution operations.
The group also plans to help encourage use of the EPC digital identification standard throughout the pharmaceutical industry.
The group includes pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Key players are Abbott Laboratories, Barr Pharmaceuticals, Cardinal Health, CVS Pharmacy, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and Rite Aid.
The project also plans to test how RFID technology can improve:
- expiration date management;
- lot and batch tracking;
- returns management processing;
- shipping and receiving accuracy;
- operational integrity; and
- product security and consumer safety.
Lyle Ginsburg, a partner in Accenture's products operating group, said that the project will allow participating companies 'to accelerate the technology learning curve', adding that its findings will be shared with the industry.