Joint application of RFID and 2D barcode system solutions in pharmaceutical logistics

- Jun 26, 2018-

RFID technology is a key technology for real-time logistics tracking. Drug manufacturers need to add RFID tags to the entire box of drugs to track each box of drugs involved in logistics. Each RFID tag has its own unique identification code. The name of the manufacturer of the drug, the weight and size of the package, and the unique identification code of all drugs in the box are also recorded together in the RFID tag.

3. 1. 3 RFID - Identification for Logistics Packaging

RFID technology is a key technology for real-time logistics tracking. Drug manufacturers need to add RFID tags to the entire box of drugs to track each box of drugs involved in logistics. Each RFID tag has its own unique identification code. The name of the pharmaceutical manufacturer, the weight and size of the package, and the unique identification code of all the drugs in the box must also be recorded together in the RFID tag. In the database of the drug manufacturer, the information in each RFID tag is stored, and the correspondence between the unique identification code of the RFID tag and the unique identification code of the drug in the container is established. After the drug enters the circulation field, it is necessary to continue to add logistics information such as wholesalers, logistics service providers, storage environment, and logistics operations to the RFID tag, and to record the circulation history of each box of drugs.

3. 2 information connection between the nodes of the supply chain is the key

Drugs eventually reach the patient and need to go through many nodes in the pharmaceutical supply chain. To achieve uninterrupted tracking of pharmaceutical logistics information, the convergence of information between nodes is the key. The complete supply chain includes at least pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies.

3. 2. 1 Pharmaceutical manufacturers

Manufacturers are responsible for marking 2D barcode labels on drug retail packaging and RFID labels for whole medicines. Each RFID label information corresponds to a number of 2D barcode information and stores this information in a database server. Manufacturers should strengthen the medicine FCL packaging technology to prevent random destruction in the circulation, steal, replace the drug inside the box, and then destroy the relevance of barcode information and RFID tag information.

3. 2. 2 Drug Wholesalers

After drugs flow from manufacturers to wholesales, they often have to go through a long process of circulation. Usually, after the first-tier wholesaler purchases medicines from the manufacturer, it is rarely necessary to disassemble the boxes and destroy the integrity of the entire box of medicines. During its stay, only RFID tags are read and written. The second and third-tier wholesalers will often encounter the need to split the consolidation of the case. At this time, it is necessary to re-establish logistics packaging, scan the LCL medicines one by one, and label new RFID tags. When the consolidation operation is completed, the correlation between the RFID tags and the bar code information in the database needs to be updated.

3. 2. 3 Retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies

Retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies are sales terminals for end users of drugs. After purchasing drugs from wholesalers, they need to be dismantled and sold. In the process of selling or dispensing medicines, the sales records of medicines can be easily established by scanning the 2D barcode on the medicine packaging box. For hospital pharmacies that have used electronic prescriptions, it is also possible to establish linking information between prescriptions and dispensed drugs when dispensing drugs, and to record the final destination of each package of drugs for future follow-up.

3. 3 Warehousing and transportation links are difficulties in logistics tracking Pharmaceutical logistics involves many logistics links such as handling, loading and unloading, warehousing, transportation, logistics processing, and distribution. Among them, the two links of warehousing and transportation are the difficulties in tracking the integrity of logistics information.

3. 3. 1 Storage

For drugs, storage time accounts for the vast majority of the drug's entire life cycle. Only by tracking the information in the warehousing process of pharmaceuticals can the integrity of the logistics tracking information be ensured. The use of RFID technology can quickly and accurately collect a large amount of logistics information, realize the automation of drug out-of-warehouse and quick inventory operations. If you need to record more detailed logistics operations during the storage process, you can solve this problem by adding an RFID reader and an event command to the designated location. For example, it can be used on a forklift truck to record drug handling and loading and unloading operations.

3. 3. 2 Transport

The transportation link is the most difficult link in the logistics process and has long been a blind spot for logistics tracking. We design and apply GPS, RFID and GPRS technologies to solve the problem of logistics tracking for shipments of drugs. First of all, before shipping, confirm that all the medicines to be shipped have RFID tags on them and install on-board GPS and mobile RFID readers for the transport vehicles. Car GPS automatically obtains vehicle location coordinates and driving information. The mobile RFID reader reads the drug information in the RFID tag in the car. Then, through wireless communication terminals such as mobile phones, real-time information on vehicles and medicines is transmitted to the logistics information monitoring center. The information center can master the real-time information of transport medicines and realize real-time logistics tracking.

4 Problems in joint applications

RFID's technical standards are mainly controlled by the U.S. EPC global and Japan's UID organizations. At present, China's application of RFID technical standards has not yet been introduced, and the application standards among various industries have not yet reached a unified level. The standardization issue has become one of the important reasons that hinder the promotion and application of RFID technology. Therefore, in the joint application of two-dimensional bar code and RFID technology in the pharmaceutical logistics tracking system, we must first unify the application of RFID technology standards in the industry. Judging from the current status of domestic application of RFID, successful cases of large-scale application of RFID are all under the auspices of the government, such as second-generation resident ID cards, automatic train number identification systems, and Shanghai Port Container Management. However, there are a few successes in private commercial applications. Most of them only stay in the promotion test phase. In order to successfully apply RFID technology in the field of pharmaceutical logistics, it is also essential to obtain government support as much as possible.