Tracking and Tracing Medicines: Will the Best Technology Win?

Romero, Alejandro; Lefebvre, Elisabeth; De Marcellis-Warin, Nathalie
January 2013
Global Business & International Management Conference;2013, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p119
Conference Paper
Medicines tracking and tracing systems improve the quality, integrity and security of healthcare services in general and of hospital processes in particular. However, the choice between barcodes and RFID technology as data carriers for tracing and tracking solutions remains difficult and acts as a main obstacle for a wider implementation of these systems. Despite some proven technological superiority, RFID will not easily replace in the short term the mature and well-established barcodes. In fact, some actors, regardless of their position in the pharmaceutical supply chain, remain ambivalent about a widespread adoption of RFID. Even if the barcodes technology appears to be particularly resilient, this does not mean that most actors of the supply chain will favor a full barcodes only implementation. Instead, this paper points to the coexistence of the two data carriers for tracing and tracking medicines within the pharmaceutical supply chain and proposes three coexistence models.


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