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Purdue Moving OxyContin RFID Pilot to Full Production

By midyear, the drugmaker plans to roll out a full-scale implementation, after which every bottle and case of the painkiller will carry an EPC Gen 2 tag.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Once the bottles are labeled, the interrogators will collect the tag data at multiple points along the packaging line, passing it on to software made by Systech International, a manufacturer of automated packaging systems. This software, called Advisor, will ensure that each EPC collected is unique and valid for a bottle of OxyContin. As the bottles are aggregated into groups of 48 for casing, Advisor collects the EPCs once more to ensure that each bottle in the group (and each associated EPC) is being cased for the first and only time. Purdue will also apply an EPC Gen 2 RFID label to every case of OxyContin; to date, it has been tagging only at the item level.

All tag data collected from the Advisor software, which will run on two separate packaging lines, will be sent to Systech's Guardian software, which will act as a repository for all tag data. According to Stephen Lisa, director of packaging execution systems for Systech International, an e-pedigree platform could pull this tag data from the Guardian software and use it to establish a chain of custody of drugs as they move through the supply chain.

In 2005, Purdue conducted a three-month proof-of-concept pilot to evaluate an e-pedigree platform based on SupplyScape's e-pedigree software (see Purdue Pharma to Run Pedigree Pilot). That pilot involved RFID tag data collected from the EPC Class 0 tags. Currently, however, the company is not using an RFID-based e-pedigree platform. Some states now require drugmakers and distributors to keep electronic pedigree records of drugs, but they can use bar codes to serialize the products if they prefer.

"Moving forward, as we implement the Gen 2 technology," says James Heins, Purdue Pharma's senior director of public affairs, "we hope to leverage a platform with the basic level of interoperability and performance needed to achieve a production-scale, RFID-based pedigree solution."

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