The company RST-Invent, by order of the pharmaceutical company ABOLmed, has developed an RFID system for tracking the movement and identifying counterfeit deliveries of pharmaceutical products.
The ABOLmed company from Novosibirsk was the first pharmaceutical company in Russia to introduce in its production and logistics processes the technology of protection against drug counterfeits based on radio frequency identification.
The RST-Invent specialists were faced with the task of creating an automated system that would make it possible to track each unit of ABOLmed products from the moment of production to the moment of its shipment to the final consumer. At the same time, the labeling of drugs with RFID tags was supposed to protect the manufacturer’s products from possible fakes.
As part of a pilot project that started in 2009, RST-Invent successfully solved the technical problem of registering a large number of marked objects when performing logistics operations. And a few years later, the constructed RFID system not only worked at full capacity, but also prevented the delivery of a large batch of counterfeit medicines to one of the state medical institutions.
Principle of operation
A drug marked with an RFID label is registered at each production stage and subsequent links in the supply chain. Data on the correspondence of the unique RFID tag number to a specific product unit is received in the ABOLmed database.
Thanks to the implemented RFID system, the manufacturer, distributor or regulatory authorities can at any time track the life cycle of each unit of production.
RFID Label Design
To label ABOLmed products, RST-Invent specialists developed a unique RFID-label design that ensured the best label retention during impacts or friction of the bottles on the packaging line, as well as high efficiency of product registration in bulk packages.
The type of RFID tag itself was selected taking into account the features of modern production, as well as the technology of its integration into the drug label. As a result of research work, the RFID tag B42b manufactured by RST-Invent was selected for use in the label.
As part of this project, RST-Invent engineers developed and produced special RFID solutions:
The automatic numbering device RST-ANM records a unique identifier and checks RFID tags, and also records the date and batch number of the manufactured drug in the ABOLmed database.A rejector on the production line checks the availability and serviceability of the RFID tag on each vial of the drug. At an average speed of movement of the bottles on the conveyor of 0.5 m / s, the rejecter manages to check up to 8 moving bottles in 1 second. If the label is missing or it was damaged during gluing, the bottle is automatically removed from the line and sent to the defective product storage.
The open-type RFID tunnel RST-NFT registers in bulk packages with a capacity of up to 200 units. This device is used both during the initial registration of just manufactured products, and in all subsequent logistics operations of acceptance and shipment in warehouses. Such tunnels are used not only by the internal services of the enterprise, but also by more than 20 regional distribution centers, partners of ABOLmed. The data on all shipments from the manufacturer’s warehouse, as well as information on any movements of goods carried out by regional distributors, fall into the ABOLmed unified information system.
In addition to the RST-Invent equipment, the system uses portable RFID terminals of foreign manufacturers – they are necessary for operational and scheduled checks of the expiration dates, addressing of deliveries and the authenticity of products in the warehouses of regional partners and wholesale customers of ABOLmed LLC.
The use of RFID tags in drug manufacturing allows for continuous monitoring of the supply chain. An RFID tag makes each unit of a medicinal product unique and, as a result, protected against counterfeiting, making counterfeiting of labeled products inappropriate.
At the beginning of 2013, the RFID system had already proved its effectiveness – the employees of the Federal Service for Supervision in Healthcare identified a large batch of counterfeit medicines received at the central hospital of the city of Myski, Kemerovo Region. At the time of product acceptance, hospital staff discovered that there was no RFID tag on the labels of Urofosfabol medicines – the authenticity identifier of medicines manufactured by ABOLmed.
Information about the company “ABOLmed”:
The pharmaceutical company “ABOLmed” specializes in the production of parenteral antibiotics. The company was founded in Novosibirsk in 1998 and gradually formed into one of the largest manufacturers of pharmaceuticals for the hospital sector. Today “ABOLmed” is a pharmaceutical production of the European level and a network of representative offices in Russia and abroad.