FDA offers RFID guidelines for devices

February 5, 2007

Hoping to facilitate the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in medical devices, the FDA has published a draft set of rules and is asking for feedback from the healthcare industry. Comments must be submitted by April 2. One of the true advantages of RFID chips embedded in devices is that they can wirelessly communicate with distant readers and other devices, automatically conveying critical information. However, as the agency notes, the RF signals from one device can affect or interfere with the functions of other devices. The FDA hopes the draft guidance, which lays out the agency's regulatory requirements, will help manufacturers work together to avoid potential problems. The draft rules can be found at www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.

Anticounterfeiting gets small

Pharmaceutical counterfeiting, fraud, and theft cost more than $30 billion a year globally. To help combat the scourge, Analytical Spectral Devices recently unveiled a portable drug anticounterfeiting device, the RxSpec 700Z, which enables real-time drug verification. Using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic technology, the RxSpec device provides a glimpse of what new drug safety technologies can be applied throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain process, from the manufacturing plant to the retail pharmacy. More information can be found at http://www.asdi.com/.

Drug Fair picks supply chain automation

Drug Fair has selected GXS Managed Services to enhance supply chain visibility and automation at its 50 New Jersey locations. Drug Fair will use the GXS system to increase the number of suppliers with which it conducts e-commerce transactions. Drug Fair orders goods and services from more than 2,000 suppliers through various automated and manual mechanisms, including electronic data interchange (EDI), e-mail, fax, and traditional mail.

PTCB to offer computer-based exams

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has signed a five-year agreement with Pearson VUE, the electronic testing arm of Pearson, to offer a computer-based Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. Following a successful pilot test, the exam will now be offered throughout the United States and its territories in a Pearson VUE-owned and operated network of more than 200 Pearson Professional Centers beginning in early 2007. PTCB has certified more than 260,000 pharmacy techs in all 50 states. More details about the exam as well as test schedules and locations can be found at http://www.ptcb.org/.

Pa. insurer expands e-prescribing

Southeastern Pennsylvania-based Independence Blue Cross is expanding its e-prescription initiative to 350 additional physicians, following a successful pilot with ZixCorp in Philadelphia. Participating doctors can use a wireless handheld PDA to write prescriptions and then send them immediately and electronically to pharmacies, improving patient convenience. Prescriptions can also be written and managed through a ZixCorp secure Web site using a common browser.

CVS rolls out new merchandise platform