Pfizer To Assign E-Pedigrees To Viagra Bottles

Sep 27, 2007 (11:09 AM EDT)

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Pfizer has licensed software from SupplyScape to assign and manage electronic pedigrees for Viagra and other drugs it manufacturers, SupplyScape announced Thursday. The deal indicates that Pfizer is starting to move beyond the early work it's done with RFID to authenticate packages of Viagra in the supply chain.

The license deal comes 15 months before a California law goes into effect requiring that manufacturers assign e-pedigrees for the drugs they produce so that drugs can be tracked from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer, reducing opportunities for counterfeiting and theft. Other states are considering similar laws.

SupplyScape's E-Pedigree software creates an electronic pedigree, or record, for drugs and manages those records throughout the supply chain. Pfizer is expected to assign pedigrees at the item level for high-risk drugs (such as Viagra), while lower-risk drugs may receive e-pedigrees at the case level, said SupplyScape chairman Shabbir Dahod.

Pfizer already uses SupplyScape's RxAuthentication software, which lets pharmacies and wholesalers verify the authenticity of RFID-chipped Viagra packages. "This is an enlargement of our relationship with Pfizer; the relationship in the past was just about Viagra," Dahod said in an interview. A Pfizer spokesperson wasn't available for comment on Thursday.

Pfizer began shipping pallets, cases, and bottles of Viagra with RFID chips in December 2005 for authentication purposes to a limited number of distributors and pharmacies. It's unclear whether Pfizer will use RFID chips or bar codes for its e-pedigree deployment, or a mixture of both. Bar codes are considerably cheaper, yet they require line-of-sight reading; Dahod expects most manufacturers to use a mixture of RFID chips and bar codes to meet the California law, depending on the drug.