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Item-level e-Pedigree implementation

Pfizer is one of five pharmaceutical pilot implementations of an item-level serialized RFID solution with "parent-child" association software. How can pharmaceutical companies protect their drugs and consumers against the growing blight of counterfeiting and product diversion? One option is the Total Integrated Packaging Solution (TIPS). TIPS works in conjunction with serialized item-level RFID to protect products throughout the supply chain via a parent-child approach to the electronic-pedigree chain of custody.

Announced in November by Systech Intl., Tagsys, and SupplyScape Corp., TIPS is claimed as the first integrated solution to fight drug counterfeiting and increase patient safety.

Of TIPs' five drug company rollouts, three are in the United States. Most are implemented at the unit level for bottles, but we are told one of the applications is a wallet-style blister pack. Two of the programs are in Europe, including one at Pfizer's plant in France for its Viagra. Pfizer plans to use RFID to authenticate all Viagra sold in the United States. (See screen 16 of December's Healthcare Packaging.)

Pfizer's RFID project began last June, "going live" last November. Here are some other details about the RFID application for Viagra at the plant in France:

• The Tagsys unit-level RFID inlays are a stock 5/8"x1" flexible form factor that carry 512 bits of memory (384 bits of user memory) and are affixed to Viagra's regular labels. The 2"x3" pressure-sensitive smart labels are wrapped around individual 30- or 100-count bottles.
• Unit-level coding is done by a Domino laser coder and carries the EPCglobal logo, RFID warning, and Data Matrix bar code.
• The unit-level tags are HF 13.56 Mhz.

Case and pallet tags are UHF 915 Mhz printed-encoded by equipment from Zebra.

The TIPS Sequence:
Systech's TIPS Serialized Product Tracking Solution manages all packaging line devices, encoding and recording Electronic Product Code (EPC) serial numbers to high-frequency (HF) RFID tags and reading the packages' bar codes. The software verifies all the data on the RFID tag and bar code to establish a parent-child association for the item-level units when they are subsequently multipacked in a case and then palletized. The software contains production order, identities for units, cases, and pallets; and records of all scrapped packages.

After it's compiled in Systech's line management software, the data is exported to SupplyScape's programming, which interoperates with higher-level information management such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). TIPS can provide drug authentication and tracking throughout the supply chain and satisfies e-Pedigree compliance for requirements in states including Florida and California.

--By Rick Lingle, RFID Editor
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