WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 -- MeadWestvaco Intelligent Systems (MWVIS) announced that its radio frequency identification (RFID) inventory solution aligns with the FDA's technology recommendations outlined yesterday as part of its multi-pronged approach to combating counterfeit drugs. The approach, created by the FDA's Anti-counterfeiting Task Force, is designed to keep America's drug supply secure against counterfeiting.
Over the last several months, MWVIS has been assisting the FDA's Task Force in its efforts to understand fully the value of RFID technology for both consumer safety and in creating greater efficiencies in the manufacturing and distribution of prescription drugs. Task Force recommendations include the deployment of authentication and "track and trace" technology to guarantee that drugs delivered to consumers are those produced by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
In addition to meeting consumer safety needs, the MWVIS inventory solution enables manufacturers to more accurately monitor drug delivery from production to pharmacy distribution. For example, a company that deploys the MWVIS system will "tag" every pharmaceutical package during production, at which point it is confirmed that the correct drug has been packaged. The manufacturer can then monitor the movement of each bottle by tracking the package's RFID tag. Using this technology, the manufacturer can "see" the packages move within their facilities through delivery to the wholesaler to receipt at retail distribution centers and ultimately, to individual pharmacies where drugs are broken down and dispensed to consumers.
This level of visibility is unparalleled in the pharmaceutical industry and provides significant bottom-line benefits to manufacturers that implement the MWVIS system, including:
* Reduced liability for counterfeit drugs;
* Ability to conduct rapid, targeted recalls;
* Reduction of unauthorized or diverted sales;
* Improved product planning insights; and
* Overall inventory reduction.
MWVIS has been developing its practical, low-cost inventory solution with leaders in the pharmaceutical manufacturing and retail environments for more than two years. With insights gleaned from participation on the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) Product Safety Taskforce, and ongoing pilot installations and discussions with companies such as Best Buy and CVS/pharmacy, the company has developed a robust system that works at the item level, unlike others that only track at the case or pallet level. In fact, the system has been successfully tracking item level inventory and sales in the retail environment for eight months in two United Kingdom Tesco stores. By focusing on individual items, this solution provides far greater inventory visibility. This depth of visibility is critical in the pharmaceutical industry because manufacturers may be held liable if a single package is counterfeited or illegally distributed.
Further strengthening their product offering, MWVIS has been collaborating with MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging to develop packaging specific for the pharmaceutical and healthcare market that supports electronic tagging and addresses specific issues such as compliance, tamper-evidence and child-resistance. Award-winning products such as Dosepak, Surepak(TM) and Shellpak(TM) provide pharmaceutical companies with a complete product offering -- one that provides compliance-enhancing features, the ability to support electronic tagging, ease of handling at the pharmacy, surface area for brand messages and security features friendly to seniors. MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging brings extensive expertise and experience in label application, including the placement of electronic article surveillance (EAS) source tags onto secondary packaging for theft deterrence.
The MWVIS RFID Solution
The MWVIS solution is built around basic technology components, including ePC(TM) -standard tags and tag readers coupled with innovative antenna networking technology built in to standard fixtures. MWVIS provides both authentication and track-and-trace technology in a single comprehensive RFID solution. Once implemented, the system provides manufacturers and retailers with real-time, item-level inventory visibility to enhance business performance. A key emphasis in the MWVIS approach is the systematic reduction of risk for the adoption of RFID technology. One important element of risk reduction is to provide a complete, end-to-end solution from a single vendor. The solution includes services such as site assessment, tag procurement, tagging of packaging, installation of RF equipment, offsite hosting of software and after-sale service.
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