RFID: The 70 Percent Solution

Nov 16, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The recent move by the Food and Drug Administration and pharmacy manufacturers to reduce counterfeiting and tampering with prescription medicines using radio frequency identification (RFID) should only be viewed as a partial solution, according to Gartner’s principal analyst, Jeff Woods.

Mr. Woods told CRM Buyer, “RFID doesn’t work as advertised. A lot of people believe you can put tags on cases on the pallet and they’ll all be within the right line of vision, and all the tags will be read, but it’s not true. Normal tag configurations have only 70 percent read rates.”

The read rates can be improved, he said, but only with cases being stacked in the correct manner. Doing this would “be very difficult and time consuming,” said Mr. Woods.

Moderator’s Comment: Are the limitations of RFID such that manufacturers and retailers should only be looking to
it as a partial solution to their supply chain and inventory control challenges? What other options should the parties be considering in addition to RFID?

Jeff Woods describes RFID technology as one that has been “just around the corner” for some time. One wonders if Mr. Woods believes it will ever arrive.

Mr. Woods believes pharmaceutical manufacturers should consider changes in packaging and safety seals to reduce counterfeiting and tampering.
George Anderson – Moderator

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