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Entering the Mainstream

Larry Klimczyk of Blackbay addresses the need to encourage widespread adoption of RFID in the pharmaceutical industry

In 2006 there was considerable hype surrounding Pfizer’s intent to employ RFID in Viagra packaging. Now, in 2007, many others within the pharmaceutical industry are also poised to begin reaping the benefits of RFID. RFID has the potential to offer much more than the established technologies such as barcoding to the pharmaceutical industry. Although RFID promises significant bottom line benefits, take-up has been slower than predicted. New developments are leading to more widespread adoption, but it is still considered by many to lack the plug and play maturity that so many businesses have come to expect from their technology tools.

PROVEN BENEFITS

Although the comparative advantages of RFID over the barcode have been stated, barcoding’s chief advantage still stands: it is incredibly cheap to produce. However, RFID’s benefits are many and impressive: non-line-of-sight reading; the ability to read multiple tags at once; the ability to store information on the back of a tag; the ability to consolidate a lot of information in a very small physical space; the ability to combine this information with telemetry information, such as temperature; and the ability to read at distance. These are making some headway towards creating cost effective solutions for enterprise. Some of the key benefits projected for the pharmaceutical industry in particular are:

  • The ability to identify drugs at the individual and container level
  • Assurance that the ID on the bottle has not been forged or mislabelled
  • Minimised line-of-sight requirements to read product information
  • Remote tracking of product movement and location
  • Increased potential for reducing clinical trial times by reducing errors and improving delivery accuracy

There has been much speculation over the advantages of adopting RFID. In fact, many early adopters claim that they are already seeing a return on their investment. RFID can address many specific engineering and technical issues, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer and all but the simplest solutions will require specific engineering.


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Larry Klimczyk, Managing Director of Blackbay, has over 20 years of management experience with Symbol Technologies, Deutsche Post and TPG. Larry has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in international distribution, creating technology solutions in data capture, mobile computing and wireless communication. An experienced speaker at international conferences, his work has supported a wide range of industries in maximising their return on investment, improving business processes for data capture and communication in real-time. To complement his hands-on international experience, Larry also has an MBA in Asia Pacific studies with the National University of Singapore.
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Larry Klimczyk
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