RFID in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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RFID in Pharmaceutical Industry

In 2004, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for the implementation of RFID technology to track the distribution of prescription drugs in order to protect the medical supply chain from counterfeit drugs by 2007. Initially, California State Board of Pharmacy has mandated RFID technology but later extended implementation date until 2015.

In 2007, Kalorama Information predicted in a report that market for RFID solutions in pharmaceutical industry would worth around $3.1bn by 2012, but this got affected by the current global recession, extension given by California State Board of Pharmacy, and other challenges regarding implementation of RFID. A new research report of Jan 2010 revised the market for RFID products and services in the pharmaceutical industry that it will be worth $884m (€631m) in 2015. In 2008, RFID market was worth around $112m and predicted value of around $884m in 2015, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 per cent. Of the current market, 60 per cent is believed to be generated by hardware, with the remaining 40 per cent coming from software and services.


As of today, a RFID tags, which is passive only (read-only) can store up to 2KB of data (96bit Serial Number), can cost up to 40 cents US. In case of an active tag (read and write) can cost between $5 to $10, depending upon the material and type of tag.

Benefits/Potentials of RFID


Help in fighting against counterfeiting. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 6 percent of the world’s drugs are counterfeit. Fake prescription drugs costs Pharmaceutical companies around US$30 billion each year.

Patient safety

This is also related to counterfeiting, as fake drugs may look and feel like the real thing, but they are not. A report by WHO indicated that about 93 percent of cases it tracked didn’t have the correct amount of active ingredients.

Brand protection

Brand protection...
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