Leveraging RFID technology for drug management

Over the past decade, healthcare organizations (HCOs) have relied on radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions to aid in patient identification and monitoring, as well as track assets. Pharmaceutical operations also see a benefit from using such technologies – RFID-based tracking methods have the potential to reduce medication errors, helping to enhance patient safety. Many HCOs, he said, do not take full advantage of the power of RFID technology when it comes to drug management. They are hampered by laborious manual labeling and data binding processes needed to identify drugs.

“RFID technology has the potential to improve workflow so we can better ensure that those critical drugs are put in the right place at the right time,” Farley explained. “Existing RFID operations still require manual tagging. This is a time-intensive commitment for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists because they need to ensure that each RFID tag is appropriately associated with the drug – and that the batch number and expiration date are entered correctly into their systems. It can take That’s a lot of time.”

When leading generic drug manufacturers supply RFID-enabled products with drug-related bio-data automatically embedded in each dose’s label, said Mike Axelsen, M.D., senior director, Pharmaceutical Technology and Analytics, they eliminate the need for such time-consuming manual work. , Fresenius Cape. And when these manufacturers use a standard data format based on GS1 standards for RFID tags, any participant in the supply chain can read that data, which includes the NDC number, batch number, and expiration date.

“There are a lot of benefits to an open source RFID system beyond inventory tracking,” he said. “As a pharmacist, having RFID-tagged medicines enabled by the manufacturer that can be read by the system I already have saves me a lot of time. This is the time I can now spend improving my clinical and patient care activities. It is also important to note that Having an automatic tag pairing also reduces the possibility of a transcription error during manual data entry, which reduces the likelihood of a medication error.”

Farley added that the use of manufacturer-enabled RFID tags at the dose level can enhance many different courses of action for a pharmacy, including management practices and even drug tracking and control. He said that with the increasing adoption of manufacturer-supported RFID technology and pharmacy teams seeing value, there will likely be a variety of new and innovative ways the technology will be used to improve pharmacy operations and interoperability across the supply chain.

“Having this global manufacturer-enabled label using GS1 standards can give pharmacists peace of mind,” he said. These solutions have great potential to help solve major problems our supply chain faces around drug tracking, counterfeiting, and even shortages. The ability to overcome a variety of challenges organizations currently face in terms of drug management—and help them unwind some of their day-to-day frustrations—can help all HCOs realize the full potential of RFID technology.”

To learn more about RFID enabled tags with GS1 electronic product code, read Case Study.


  1. Acumen Research and Consulting. 2021. Global Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in the Healthcare Market. Learn about RFID in the healthcare market.

About Fresenius Kabi
Fresenius Kabi is a global healthcare company specializing in lifesaving medicines, infusion technologies, blood transfusions and clinical nutrition. Our products and services are used to help care for chronically and critically ill patients. The people of Fresenius Cape have a common goal: to put life-saving medicines and technologies into the hands of the people who care for patients, and to find answers to the challenges they face. Fresenius Kabi employs more than 40,000 people worldwide.

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