A combination of new technologies is being used to secure drug supplies. A new intelligent refrigerator uses RFID to monitor contents. It is expected to help fight against the theft of pharmaceuticals, contamination and counterfeit distribution.
In August, a patent was issued for an intelligent refrigerator [pdf] to store pharmaceutical products. The refrigerator is intended to hold the medication until it is ready to be dispensed. Until that point the fridge uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to monitor the status of its contents. The device keeps track of what is added and removed and performs a number of checks.
These checks include monitoring for drugs that are “counterfeit, expired, suspect, spoiled, recalled or almost depleted.” If such an item is found then the refrigerator warns the operator about the security breach.
RFID is used in a number of other anti-counterfeiting technologies, most notably the insertion of small RFID tags into drug packaging. These tags give off a radio wave that can be identified by a scanner, alerting consumers whether their medication is a counterfeit drug.