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tags Trizivir bottles with radio tags

tags Trizivir bottles with radio tags

Radio tags will allow better tracking of drug shipments.

GlaxoSmithKline has begun distributing a medicine tagged with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as part of a pilot project to help protect patient safety. The tags will be placed on all bottles of the anti-HIV drug Trizivir distributed in the United States. When scanned at close range, the tags will help verify that the medicine bottle contains authentic Trizivir. This specific medicine was selected for the project because it has been listed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as one of 32 drugs most susceptible to counterfeiting and diversion.

RFID uses a tiny silicon chip and antenna about the size of a postage stamp that is attached to each bottle of medicine. The chip stores a unique product code that reflects information about the drug's manufacturing and shipping history. The product code can be read by pharmaceutical wholesalers and pharmacists using a handheld or stationary electronic device that is placed near the tag. The tag can be read by wholesalers when it is received from the manufacturer and when it is shipped to pharmacies, who would then record when they have received the medicine. This allows manufacturers to more precisely account for medicine as it moves through the distribution chain and to authenticate medicine at the point of dispensing.

The technology does not collect any patient information.

"This is one more step toward safeguarding Americans' supply of medicine," said Mark Shaefer, vice president of the HIV and Infectious Disease Medicine Development Center at GlaxoSmithKline, in a press statement. "The hope is that RFID tags can tighten the supply chain even further to help assure patients that the medicine they buy is indeed the medicine their doctor has prescribed."

RFID-tagged bottles of Trizivir will begin appearing on pharmacists' shelves in mid April. (The Advocate)

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