SupplyScape Corp.Click here for complete diagram.
Seeking to help protect customers from counterfeit drugs, SupplyScape Corp. on Jan. 6 launched the SupplyScape RxAuthentication Service. For the first time, the serial number of each pharmaceutical package, called an Electronic Product Code (EPC), can be verified as authentic before the drugs are dispensed to U.S. consumers.
The leverages Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to store the EPC of the drug package, which pharmacies and wholesalers can verify over the Web. "Drug counterfeiting exceeds $32 billion worldwide each year," said Peter J. Pitts, a former FDA Associate Commissioner and member of the agency's Counterfeit Drug Task Force. "In fact, counterfeit drugs are growing approximately 16% annually, a rate which is much faster than the legitimate pharmaceutical business."
While the vast majority of drugs sold in the U.S. are authentic, counterfeiters have become highly sophisticated and are able to infiltrate the legitimate drug supply chain. As a result, it's very difficult to distinguish a genuine drug product from a fake.
"Confirming the drug's Electronic Product Code is authentic is a critical step in protecting Americans from counterfeit drugs," said SupplyScape Corp. President and CEO Shabbir Dahod. "This authentication service provides a safety net whereby pharmacies and wholesalers have a quick and easy method for ensuring that each pharmaceutical package's EPC did, in fact, originate from the pharmaceutical manufacturer."
Also on Jan. 6, Pfizer Inc. announced plans to pilot RFID technology and the authentication service in the U.S. with its Viagra (sildenafil citrate) brand. According to the company's public statements, U.S. wholesalers and pharmacies will be able to read the serial number on the RFID tag of Viagra and confirm that it is, in fact, a valid EPC issued by Pfizer for that drug.
"At Pfizer, this is all about patient safety," said Peggy Staver, Director of Trade Product Integrity at Pfizer. "We are providing wholesalers and pharmacies a way to quickly and efficiently confirm that the EPC serial number on Viagra is authentic." In the future, the same RxAuthentication Service can be used to inform pharmacies about recalled products and provide up-to-date product information.