Multi-talented RFID tag hits pharma market

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rfid Authentication

The first radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that
authenticates, encrypts data and monitors product
temperature hit the shelves last week, aimed specifically at
protecting the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The Lime Tag (lightweight multistream encryption tag) from RFID specialists SecureRF is a battery-assisted passive tag for item-level authentication, and according to the company provides tamper-proof data storage on the tag itself, ensuring privacy by only allowing authorised readers to access the information. "Unlike other solutions in the industry that simply put encrypted data on a tag, making them easily copied or cloned, our technology makes the tag an active participant in authenticating and protecting its contents,"​ said SecureRF CEO, Louis Parks. According to SecureRF, the difference with this device is its ability to securely store information, as well as authenticate and encrypt communications. Other RFID tags currently available have been limited to lower levels of security, with the chip itself unable to perform any 'active' authentication or encryption. SecureRF's product, which employs the company's lightweight cryptographic technology, means that the RFID tag itself actively authenticates and encrypts, and is "thousands of times more efficient than existing methods." ​ As well as ensuring authenticity and security of the products, the RFID tag also includes a temperature sensor, which is intended to address issues of cold chain management in the pharma industry by monitoring and securely recording an item-level temperature history. Another plus-point of the new product is that it includes integration technology that allows it to be used with existing second generation (so-called 'Gen 2') compliant RFID readers without requiring firmware upgrades. This will allow users already employing a Gen 2 RFID system to implement the Lime Tag security feature within their supply chain protection with little disruption or change to their current set-up. The tag is available immediately for industry pilots, and towards the end of this year the company plans to introduce secure passive tags (with no batteries and powered by reflecting radio waves back to a reader) and secure active tags (which use a powered transmitter to send information back to a reader) to its range. This latest RFID offering aims to help protect the pharmaceutical industry against the growing threat of drug counterfeiting and ensure drug safety. RFID is hotly touted as the next big thing in supply chain protection, though some parties contend that the technology won't be fully and practically available for another 10 years. However, with every small step and development in RFID technology and products, the pharma industry is increasingly protected against illegal counterfeiting of its drugs and siphoning off of products along the supply chain. With the fake drugs market predicted to hit $75bn (€56bn) worldwide by 2010, establishing a reliable security framework with the technology and features to deter and detect would-be counterfeiters is imperative to protect both patient safety and the pharma companies that fall victim to illegal counterfeiting activities.

Related topics Drug Delivery

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