Monday, October 7, 2013

Finally.. an electronic tracking mechanism being mandated for pharmaceuticals

Seems like my post last week had some effect on the government of California if not the FDA. In order to ensure the security of drugs from source to destination, through the various routes an e-tracking system will soon become mandatory in California. This might cost the pharmaceutical companies millions of dollars but it will definitely be worth the expenditure. With more patients requiring specialty medications that are shipped from outside the country, it becomes quite important to prevent these drugs from any criminal activity like counterfeiting. This is important not just because these patients are in a critical stage but even otherwise drugs that are life saving need a close watch to ensure safety during supply. 

The California e-pedigree legislation requires companies to provide an electronic, serialized pedigree of all the drugs sold, manufactured and distributed in the state.This will not only reduce counterfeiting, but also help with invoice disputes and returns. Currently the deadline holds good for 2015 after having faced two push-backs, thanks to the lobbying groups and big pharmaceuticals who look at it as a huge IT expenditure. Unfortunately they don't realize nor recognize the business returns on this investment. Eventually the companies are bound to benefit by a closely watched supply chain that would help them track inventory and make appropriate changes to their manufacturing and billing. Just like in the case of Zappos where inventory was managed so efficiently because they received a lot of user feedback and knew to a large extent  the status of their products in shipment. Furthermore the labeling of products or 'serialization' as in our case, had helped Zappos mange their huge inventory quite easily, all they needed is a scanner and a person who could follow the maps of their massive warehouse. 

Considering the special requirements for certain bio-engineered drugs, employing robots might ensure complete wellness of these drugs - they can be kept under the most optimum temperature at all times and prevented from any damage caused by rough handling by humans or any damages caused during loading and unloading.

Although there is a difference of opinion with regards to supporting this law there are a few companies who are getting started because they view it as a business solution from a patient safety standpoint, not an IT project. They have to work with multiple partners and this could take a while to be put into place but nevertheless it is bound to be beneficial for everyone! (Payer, Provider and Patient!)

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