Copyright RFID Journal LLC 2008, Used With Permission

Cephalon, a manufacturer of pain and oncology drugs, plans to begin tagging cases and pallets of Fentora, a cancer treatment drug and a schedule II narcotic, at its Salt Lake City manufacturing facility later this year.

Cephalon has been evaluating the use of radio frequency identification [RFID] for the past two years and wants to deploy the technology to fight counterfeiting and improve its outbound product tracking.

The company first announced its plans to begin testing the use of RFID technology based on EPCglobal’s second-generation Electronic Product Code standard to track at the item-, case- and pallet-levels in 2005.

It changed its focus to case and pallet tracking because of poor read rates from Gen 1 tags attached at the item level. The foil materials used in the item-level packaging made it difficult to read tags.

But last year, when the company began testing Gen 2 tags, it saw significant improvements in both the read rates and read distances.

Based on these performance improvements, Cephalon plans to being testing the application of Gen 2 tags on individual packages of the drug, as well as case and pallet tagging, but the company does not have a timeline for this phase of its RFID project.

The company is also now evaluating middleware providers to determine the best means by which it will integrate RFID tag data with its SAP enterprise resource planning software.