Looks like pharma companies and wholesalers will have two more years to get the kinks worked out of their electronic pedigree system.
The California State Board of Pharmacy just announced that it would delay its e-pedigree law that would require all drugs that pass through the state to be electronically tracked. The date has been pushed from January 2009 to January 2011 giving everyone–from pharma to the pharmacists–a chance to properly implement their systems.
The plan is to have every drug coded with some form of tracking device–be it RFID tags, traditional barcodes, or 2D barcodes–to follow a shipment as it travels down the supply chain. Companies such as Pfizer are tracking every bottle of Viagra with RFID chips that can sense the contents of a pill bottle without even opening a shipping container.
California law isn’t requiring anything that fancy, but it insists that there is some form of chain of custody that can document a drug from manufacturer to the point of dispensing.
The pedigree also can be used to track expired goods, find a missing shipment, or determine whether an unmarked shipment has been diverted into the supply chain or if it contains counterfeit product.