Sun, Max RFID pilot advances

Max Pharma, a German drug distributor, is rolling out a radio-frequency identification system for tracking Sun Pharmaceutical products. Rollout of the UHF system, which uses Gen 2 RFID tags, follows five years of piloting.

Thinking outside the shipping box, Max hopes to sell the solution to its supply chain partners. It's already making headway. Ten of the distributor's pharmacy customers have purchased RFID readers, allowing them to create an electronic record that includes serial number, date of manufacture, expiration date and when each item was received. And drugmaker Medac International will begin this summer attaching the tags to products it ships to Max.

Systems development was done by XQS-Service, an IT division launched by Max in 2006 as a pharma-captive track/trace solutions provider. It built its own software platform--QS on Demand--to manage RFID read data. 

Initially, the system was based on HF technology and required pricey readers. But UHF technology improvements led to a pilot based on the higher frequencies last year. Also tested in the pilot was the system's ability to link item serial number to the Electronic Product Code ID. 

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