Submitted by Joanne C. Kelleher
Last week I attended part of the INTERPHEX Conference which offered technology solutions and education for every aspect of drug manufacturing from process development through delivery to market. I was there to see the panel presentation put on by members of the RFID Security Alliance and moderated by SecureRF’s CEO, Louis Parks.
Before the presentation I walked the show floor with other members of the panel. We specifically went to the Supply Chain Security area of the exhibit hall which turned out to be a surprisingly small section in the far back corner of the hall. Of the vendors we talked to, RFID was not a focus of their solution, but it could be used in conjunction with the authentication or supply chain products they were offering. The consensus was that attendance at the show seemed to be down from previous years. Given the current economy this wasn’t really a surprise to anyone.
The panel topic was Securely Implementing RFID in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain. In addition to Louis Parks, panel members were:
- Bikash Chatterjee – President and CTO, Pharmatech Associates
- Michael McCartney – Founder and Principal, QLM Consulting
- Michael Spinney – Principal, SixWeight
- Andrew Strauch – Vice President, Product Marketing and Management, Mikoh Corporation
Besides RFID security, there were two topics that came up when the six of us gathered earlier in the day and during the panel discussion. The first is food safety and its parallels with the pharmaceutical industry. Both industries face similar track and trace issues and are under the oversight of the FDA. The second is the globalization of the pharmaceutical supply chain. With an increase in raw material sourcing and manufacturing processes happening overseas, we are losing more control over the quality of prescription drugs. Solutions such as ePedigree or product authentication only address supply chain security once the finished product is shipped, not initial product quality.
Presentation attendees included members of the media, consultants and pharmaceutical packaging experts. I was glad to see that there were lots of questions about how security could be implemented and the state of the RFID industry.