Healthcare providers are flocking to RFID in an effort to better track expensive inventories of drugs and vaccines. In an important development regarding the use of RFID with biologics, research conducted by several universities, including the Madison RFID Lab at the University of Wisconsin, has revealed that RFID is safe and suitable for use with biologics.
The research findings were recently published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, produced by the Parenteral Drug Association.
Temperature-monitoring RFID refrigerators and freezers are becoming increasingly important when it comes to tracking the condition of biologics, such as vaccines, medications and medical equipment.
A new study by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests that healthcare providers routinely store vaccines at improper temperatures, potentially rendering them useless and placing children at risk. The report identified at least $800,000 worth of vaccine doses that may be ineffective, but the number could actually be well over $2 billion. (Read RFID 24-7′s coverage).
Here is an excerpt from the research abstract:
The recent developments on the use of e-pedigree to identify the chain of custody of drugs suggests the use of advanced track and trace technologies such as two-dimensional barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID technology is used mainly for valuable commodities such as pharmaceutical products while incorporating additional functionalities like monitoring environmental variables to ensure product safety and quality.
Forthcoming requirements, such as the California Board of Pharmacy Track and Trace initiative regarding the use of e-pedigree to identify the chain of custody of drugs, suggest the use of advanced track and trace technologies such as two-dimensional barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. When used for pharmaceuticals, RFID technology can support additional functionalities like monitoring temperature to ensure product safety. In its guidance for the use of RFID technologies for drugs, the Food and Drug Administration outlined multiple parameters that would apply to pilot studies using RFID while excluding drugs approved under a Biologics License Application or protein drugs covered by a New Drug Application due to concerns about the effects of radio frequency radiation on biologics.
Even though the effects of radio frequency on biologics due to temperature changes are relatively well understood, there are few studies in the literature about other effects of radio frequency that can occur without a noticeable change in temperature. In this paper, we expose a wide variety of biologics including biopharmaceuticals to radio frequency radiation at different frequencies, as well as cellular blood products and plasma to high frequency radiation. The in vitro test results show no detectable effect due to radio frequency radiation.