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Cardinal Health to Outfit California DC with RFID

Cardinal Health recently announced that it will outfit its Sacramento, California, pharmaceutical distribution center with RFID technology by fall of this year. It is a move to prepare the company for California's legislation that will require the tracking and tracing of drugs distributed in the state.
May 15, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 15, 2007—Cardinal Health, an $81 billion global provider of products and services to many segments of the healthcare industry and a recognized early adopter of RFID, recently announced that it will outfit its Sacramento, California, pharmaceutical distribution center with RFID technology by fall of this year. It is a move to prepare the company for California's legislation that will require the tracking and tracing of drugs distributed in the state.

The Sacramento distribution center is one of dozens that Cardinal operates around the United States. The RFID infrastructure there will allow Cardinal to both produce and receive the electronic pedigree data required by the California legislation. In addition, the company considers it an extension to the end-to-end pharma tracking pilot it conducted last year to examine UHF RFID's feasibility as the single frequency solution for item-, case-, and pallet-level tracking. "While the Sacramento project is designed to support the pedigree legislation in California, it's also an extension of the end-to-end RFID pilot that we completed last year," said executive vice president of Global Supplier Services, Steve Inacker. Cardinal published the results of that pilot in November (see Pharmaceutical RFID Pilot Finds Promise, Problems). While the company was pleased with UHF's performance overall, the results exposed areas that need improvement, such as reading individual items within a pallet.

As part of the annoucement, Cardinal identified a number of factors it deems critical to achieving RFID-enabled track-and-trace across the pharmaceutical supply chain. The first is standardization. The second is a "single RFID protocol and technology," an apparent nod to adopting pure UHF-based RFID for item-, case-, and pallet-level pharma tracking. Cardinal asserts that the competing option -- using HF for item-level tagging and UHF for cases and pallets -- could result in increased costs and inefficiencies. The company also advocates a few best practices, such as the application of bar codes as a backup to RFID, and the acceptibility of "inference" as a technique to identify the presence of an item in a case or pallet when the item's tag cannot be read.

Read the announcement from Cardinal Health
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