The ongoing potential of RFID as an alternative to 2D barcode in pharmaceutical industry

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Akad Colak, Elif Nur
Issue Date
MA of Business Administration
Dublin Business School
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Pharmaceutical industry is one of the vital industries for human health and well-being and Ireland has a very strong reputation amongst other countries by hosting a great deal of global and local pharmaceutical manufacturers and producing high quality medicines. Since the industry has been suffering from counterfeit drugs besides different hurdles from both competitors and government regulations, the action of the pharmaceutical manufacturers is subject to interest in order to overcome drug trafficking. Serialization seems as a solution both for counterfeiting and the complex supply chain of pharmaceutical industry including recalls and returns. Although, there are some countries that use serialization as a legal requirement, it is still an evolving subject within the industry not just for an anti-counterfeit technology but to use supply chain and stock management more efficiently. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and 2D Barcode are two different data carriers that used in serialization and suggested by the US and EU authorities. Although, RFID was first introduced as a disruptive technology in late 2004 by FDA (Food and Drug Administration), 2D barcode is taking advantage of the market due to its relatively lower cost and implementation convenience. This study aims to identify the potential for RFID applications within Irish Pharmaceutical Industry, as they need to consider implementation of a serialization system. This topic has been chosen due to the researcher’s professional background and personal interest in pharmaceutical industry as well as to understand the main approach in Irish market. Due to the novelty of the subject for Irish market likewise most of the countries in the world, researcher believes that it would be an opportunity to analyse the topic in that context. Considering the speciality of the topic, a group of interviews conducted with different stakeholders of the industry from regulatory body to consultancy company in order to identify the Irish pharmaceutical industry’s tendency on serialization and data carriers.