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Information Mediary Corp. Developing NFC Version of Its Drug-Tracking Products

The company's eCAP and Med-ic offerings are used to help monitor medication usage during clinical trials, by transmitting data indicating when pills are removed from a vial or blister pack.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 14, 2012When conducting clinical trials of a medication, pharmaceutical companies and research institutes must rely on participants to follow the recommended dosage regimen. Although patients may claim to have taken a medication at specific times, the information supplied may be inaccurate, affecting the test's outcome, and there is no way for the trial hosts to know about it. To remedy this problem, Information Mediary Corp. (IMC) offers RFID-based solutions that track the removal of pills packaged in blister packs and bottles, and then transmit that information to a reader. While the RFID-based systems have been available since IMC was founded in June 2001, the company is now developing a Near Field Communication (NFC) version of its products that will allow its customers to employ NFC-enabled phones to track medication usage in clinical trials and other environments.

IMC manufactures two RFID-based products for electronic compliance monitoring: Med-ic, for capsules and pills packaged in blister packs, and eCAP, which serves as a closure for a pill bottle or vial. Both solutions consist of the firm's Smart Label, a semi-passive RFID tag embedded in the packaging or cap, and a sensor or switch to indicate when either the blister packaging is broken or a lid is opened. It also includes IMC's RFID reader, which plugs into a computer, and its CertiScan software, to interpret read data, says Joanne Watters, IMC's research and product support specialist.

The Med-ic Smart Label comes with a printed electronic grid that is attached to a pharmaceutical blister pack.

The data related to each medication activity is stored on the tag, and is then transmitted to a reader for use by the pharmaceutical company or research institute. In some cases, the system is also utilized by a patient, or by a patient's family, to ensure that medication is taken when recommended. In this scenario, the patient or family must purchase the reader and software in order to manage data collected from the RFID reads.

With the use of NFC technology, the company reports, the system could also be used with an NFC-enabled phone loaded with NFC-based applications provided by Information Mediary Corp. This would make it possible for a patient or researcher to use the solution without acquiring a reader or reader-based software, simply utilizing an app on his or her NFC-enabled phone.

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