Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh are studying how to embed tiny passive RFID tags into prescription drugs in an effort to reduce counterfeiting.
Although the two-year project is still in its design stage, such a solution could be a boon to pharmaceutical manufacturers who fight an uphill battle to combat approximately $75 billion worth of fake drugs that enter the supply chain each year.
The World Health Organization estimates that fake medicines represent up to 30 percent of the drug supply chain in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Richard Carley, one of three researchers working on the project, says that at least one major pharma manufacturer is keeping a close eye on the project, which received a $100,000 grant. The proposed solution calls for dropping an ingestible RFID chip encased in glass into each pill during the manufacturing process.
The Carnegie Mellon solution would enable pharmaceuticals to be authenticated along the supply chain and ultimately, by the consumer.