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The Potential for RFID in Pharmaceutical Packaging

Research firm IDTechEx recently released an assessment of the potential market for RFID in the pharmaceutical industry. This article summarizes the key findings on compliance improvement, tamper recording, and the combination of RFID with sensors.
Sep 05, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

September 5, 2006—Research firm IDTechEx recently released an assessment of RFID adoption across the pharmaceuticals packaging industry. Summarized below are the key findings:
  • $2.1 billion by 2016. IDTechEx predicts that the healthcare industry's demand for RFID will reach $2.1 billion annually within ten years.
  • Big opportunity in compliance improvement. As many as 50% of patients do not take their medication correctly; they either take too much or too little of the medication, take it at the wrong time, or take it for periods that are too long or too short. By incorporating RFID into drug packaging, according to IDTechEx, the removal of a pill can be recorded, thereby effectively monitoring patients' drug-taking. The pharmaceutical industry hopes that such smart packaging will help rectify the expensive and sometimes dangerous issue of patient non-compliance. Indeed, IDTechEx cites a shifting interest away from the historical practice of developing new blockbuster drugs, and toward getting patients to take existing drugs correctly.
  • Residual benefits of smart packaging In addition to combating non-compliance, RFID-enabled packaging offers other benefits that are expected to improve the overall quality of pharmaceutical-based healthcare. The benefits include: engaging the patient as a participant in her own treatment; simplifying administration of drugs through automation; and providing interaction with the patient so that the regimen is continuously reinforced.
  • RFID to blend with sensors. IDTechEx predicts that eventually pharmaceutical packaging will incorporate sensors that can detect environmental characteristics like temperature. Such technology would allow a pill bottle's expiration date to change dynamically if the bottle has been over-exposed to heat, for example.
  • Tamper recording. RFID can record the moment a pharmaceutical package is tampered with. IDTechEx notes that investigators have already used the technology to make arrests. Sweden's Cypak is cited as a leader in this technology.

Read the entire article from IDTechEx
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