Pharmaceuticals are big business and used by hundreds of thousands of people every day. It shouldn’t surprise us then that they have many rules and regulations that govern the manufacture of them. For our purposes, however it is how the technology of Radio Frequency Identification or RFID helps to streamline the process and get needed drugs to patients not only in a timely manner but also safely too.
RFID works with just three things which are tags, readers and easy to use software. Items can be tagged individually or by the crate, barrel or box full, and readers can be set up at any point along the manufacture process and beyond. Everything can be easily tracked via the software and a laptop or smartphone.
Pharmaceuticals are made from many different ingredients that are expertly blended together to make a certain pill or liquid. These pills are created in special laboratories and then shipped to various drug stores, doctor’s offices and hospitals around the country and, in some cases, the world.
What happens with RFID is that compounds are tagged before they head to the lab. No, granules cannot be tagged, but batches of it can be, so once it gets to the lab, the head technician knows exactly which batch of each product they are using in which pills. Tags can be read with handheld devices or as they travel through static readers in a warehouse or holding room. As each batch of a specific pharmaceutical is finished, that too gets a special tag, specifying when it was made, by whom it was made, what temperature it needs to be stored at, where it is headed and many other particulars which can all be brought up on that laptop whenever needed.
These tags stay with the product until such times as they get to their final destination, and can be read however many times in transit as needed, this lessens the threat of theft and loss, and can easily be tracked if it does happen to go missing at any point. Because many drugs are dangerous if taken unnecessarily or make for great money on the black market, security is of the utmost importance when these drugs are being shipped from point A to point B.
Pharmaceuticals are big business, but they are also a wonderful invention that have saved many lives over the years and made other lives that much better. Where would we be without them, or RFID to keep them safe?