|Cardinal Health Goes RFID||| Print ||
This fall, Cardinal Health’s Sacramento distribution center is scheduled to integrate radio frequency identification (RFID) technology into its operations. This is to prepare for California’s pedigree legislation that will require all drugs distributed within the state to be tracked and traced as they move through the supply chain.
The announcement comes just months after Cardinal shared the results of its RFID pilot program, which was the healthcare industry’s first end-to-end test in a real-world setting. Data collected from the pilot confirmed that RFID technology using UHF as a single frequency is a feasible solution to track and trace pharmaceuticals at the unit, case, and pallet levels. The pilot also confirmed that RFID technology offers significant promise in providing an added layer of safety within the supply chain by enabling item-level pedigrees to be tracked and traced as they pass from manufacturer to wholesaler to pharmacy.
The California legislation also requires companies within the pharmaceutical supply chain to update item-level pedigrees with each change of ownership. Product serialization must be initiated by the manufacturer at the unit level to allow tracking. For this to happen, according to the company, a standards-based approach and a single RFID protocol and technology will be needed to avoid the process and cost inefficiencies that would be created without standards. In addition, technology and process improvements are needed to consistently have acceptable read rates at all packaging levels; industry acceptance is also needed for standard practices like accepting bar-coded technology as a complementary and redundant technology to RFID, and accepting unit-level “inference” when unit-level read rates are not possible.