IBM ePedigree Will Fight Prescription Drug Counterfeiting

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Prescription Drug Counterfeiting

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IBM on Thursdaylaunched an electronic "pedigree" system that will help fightprescription drug counterfeiting using radio-frequency identificationtags, the AP/Houston Chroniclereports. The ePedigree system allows drug companies to createelectronic certificates of authenticity for drugs and track themthrough the supply chain and into the hands of consumers. The tags alsowill keep track of expiration dates, batch numbers to be used in caseof a recall and other information.

Chris Clauss, IBM Software'sdirector of sensor information management, said the RFID tags are not aguarantee against counterfeiting, but they will "raise the bar" andmake such activity more difficult. A California law scheduled to takeeffect in 2009 will mandate that any drug distributed in the state hasits pedigree attached, according to the AP/Chronicle.Past attempts to combat fake drugs -- including holograms andwatermarks -- often were illegally "reproduced within months, to thepoint where brand managers could not tell the difference between thecounterfeit and the real thing," the AP/Chronicle reports (Ortutay, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/9).
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