IBM announced this week that it is launching an electronic pedigree system called ePedigree. The new system is part of IBM's Websphere RFID Information Center. The system uses radio-frequency identification, or RFID tags, to track medications through the supply chain until they reach consumers.
IBM's ePedigree RFID technology will assist the pharmaceutical industry in their battle to combat drug counterfeiting. The system creates electronic certificates of authenticity for each medication bottle and tracks the products from manufacturers and distributors to the end points of pharmacies and hospitals.
Pfizer currently employs RFID technology to track frequently counterfeited drugs such as Viagra. RFID technology is a vast improvement over earlier security measures such as holograms, which can be easily duplicated.
IBM's ePedigree will also allow companies to comply with new regulations such as California's law requiring that all medication distributed in the state have a complete life history attached. The California regulations are slated to go into effect in 2009.