one strong reason for using RFID is that it could be fully
automated without any manual intervention, in warehouses
or in the pharmacies. Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer,
Proctor & Gamble, Abbott Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline
had implemented RFID technology for specific brands.
Distribution by Region
Americas: The Americas accounted for a majority (38
percent) of the RFID technology revenue. However, the
same region represented only 24 percent of total unit shipments, indicating that the Americas use more expensive
RFID solutions such as UHF, EPC UHF.
EMEA: EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) currently
accounts for approximately 32 percent of the total market
for RFID. Major RFID solutions are LF and HF units supporting security/access control, animal tracking, and smartcard
APAC: Asia-Pacific accounted for almost 25 percent of
the total RFID market. However, RFID adoption rates are
expected to grow at a fast pace as manufacturing continues
to shift toward the region.
Clinical Trial Perspective
During the drug development process regulatory bodies
will look to study data integrity and accuracy. In the past,
it was mostly done manually with pen and paper, which
often resulted in incomplete documentation with a lot of
error. The clinical trial process is often plagued with these
inefficiencies, which can be removed using RFID.
RFID could help speed drugs to market and sharply
reduce drug development costs by making trials more effi-
cient and accurate. RFID technologies provide various solu-
tions that would be useful in clinical trials such as:
• Temperature-controlled cabinets that can be used to
track, trace and monitor drug samples.
• Frequent verification of drugs at each clinical stage
during a trial.
• The ability to efficiently manage (or dispense) the
product from storage to end customers in a more
• Enabling secure access at each inventory transaction
in real-time for Schedule H drugs.
• Eliminating the mundane clinical data syncing pro-
cess, cutting costs.
Counterfeiting is prevalent in most of the industries like food, electron-
ics, pharma, etc. In pharma it is estimated that around 30 percent of
the medicines sold in developing countries could be counterfeit, among
which 50 percent are sold online. Traditionally, anti-counterfeiting tech-
niques were used to authenticate the product. Of late, in addition to
authenticating the product, it is also been used to track and trace the
product in the supply chain. There are around 200 kinds of anti-counter-
feiting techniques, which could be broadly classified into the following:
• Overt Technologies (Visible features)
• Covert Technologies (Hidden markers)
• Forensic Techniques
• Track and Trace
Track and Trace – RFID Technology
Assigning a unique identity to each unit of the product during its manufacture, which is later verified at each point in
the supply chain to the information stored in the database.
This technology is still in its nascent stage due to the high
cost associated with it, a lack of infrastructure, and incentives
from regulatory bodies to implement the technology.
This article aims to highlights the use of RFID technologies as a tool for anti-counterfeiting measures.
What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identity tagging is considered the most
secure of all the anti-counterfeiting techniques available.
An RFID tag includes an antenna along with a microchip at
its center. The microchip stores data pertaining to the item
or batch information, which is readable by specialized RFID
This technology provides heightened security, but factors like high implementation costs, unproven robustness
and a limited number of suppliers have limited its acceptance. The FDA believes that RFID for e-Pedigree is the
most reliable solution to combat drug counterfeiting.
Commonly, 2D data matrix bar codes are used at an item
level, whereas RFID tags are used at a pallet level. This is
because 2D data matrix bar codes are relatively cheaper than
RFID tags. In addition to the RFID tags, the RFID readers are
also expensive, making it hard for pharma manufacturers to
implement throughout the supply chain.
Active RFID tags are costlier than its passive counterparts
and 2D bar codes are costlier than liner bar codes. However,
RFID Technology for
An overview of RFID technology and worldwide usage
n By Sarabjeet Singh Sharad, Lead Analyst, Beroe Inc.