Ensuring that medications are authentic and not counterfeit drugs is essential for pharmaceutical companies to maintain patient safety. Now there is a new technology that appears to be able to do just that.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, tiny chips that can be tracked, have been used to track animals in the agriculture industry to prevent the release of tainted meat. They have also been used to ensure that machines administer the proper dose of anesthesia to a patient during surgery. These tracking devices could be adapted to combat the counterfeit drug trade, according to the Montreal Gazette.
Counterfeit drugs could be detected if drug makers were to insert RFID tags into each pocket in a blister pack of pills. While this may seem like a costly precaution, RFID tags cost less than 2¢ each.
If the database and sensor technology was set up properly, such tagging could ensure that that the medication is authentic and could potentially remind patients when it is time to take a dose.
More than 50 percent of drugs sold by online pharmacies are fake, according to the World Health Organization.