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EPC Track-and-Trace for Hemophilia

Domino Printing Sciences today announced the successful deployment of a complete EPC track-and-trace solution for the administration of hemophilia products.
Feb 17, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 17, 2006—The UK's Domino Printing Sciences today announced the successful deployment of a complete EPC track-and-trace solution for the administration of hemophilia products. Implemented in conjunction with supply chain standards body GS1 (EPCglobal's parent organization) and the Irish National Center for Hereditary Coagulation Disorders (NCHCD), the solution is currently used for drugs administered to hemophilia patients at the St. James's Hospital in Dublin. After two years of testing, it is "ready for global deployment", according to the announcement.

While making use of the electronic product codes (EPCs) so closely associated with RFID, the technology used is actually two-dimensional bar coding called Data Matrix (see this image). Says the announcement, "Although it is widely believed that an EPC number has to be embedded within an electronic tag (RFID tag) that can be applied to each item, this project proves that the EPC number can be embedded in a Data Matrix code rather than a RFID tag." Use of Data Matrix notwithstanding, RFID is seen as a next logical step in the implementation, which would bring the much-touted benefits of automation and freedom from line-of-sight. Said Domino's Walsh, "This really is one of the most exciting and challenging trials that has successfully demonstrated track-and-trace capabilities, with huge scope for taking this one step further by introducing RFID into the process."

Unique EPCs are generated -- serialized -- for every bottle of Clotting Factor Concentrates (CFC), the blood product used to treat hemophilia. Such serialization allows for item-level tracking, meaning that "no matter where the product is within the supply chain, one can trace when it was made, who handled it and whether it is authentic," according to Tony Walsh, European business development manager at Domino's Integrated Solutions Group.

The project's focus was almost exclusively on improving patient safety. Dr. Barry White, Director of the NCHCD, was motivated to develop a track-and-trace solution upon reading a 2002 publication that reported hundreds of hemophiliacs had been accidentally infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after consuming contaminated products. White said in a statement, "The contamination of blood products was one of the most catastrophic medical complications of the last century and some of the infections were due to defects in the supply chain. There were considerable difficulties in identifying who had received the infected CFCs and in recalling all the contaminated products." The EU Commission, the US Food and Drug Administration, and the World Federation of Hemophilia are all observing the implementation closely to determine how it might be rolled out around the world's many pharmaceutical supply chains.

Domino is publicly-traded on the London Stock Exchange and last year had revenues of roughly $330 million. The company formally announced the Integrated Solutions Group at the end of January, signaling, according to the release, "Domino's intention to extend [its] presence in worldwide RFID market".

Read today's announcement from Domino
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