It has been almost two years since I published “RFID is DEAD…at Unit-Level in Pharma” and we are approaching a pivotal decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will determine whether or not RFID will be acceptable for identifying drugs in the U.S. supply chain. Last Thursday was the scheduled final closing of the recent request for comment issued by the FDA formally known as “Bar Code Technologies for Drugs and Biological Products; Retrospective Review Under Executive Order 13563; Request for Comments, 76 Fed. Reg. 66,235” (Oct. 26, 2011) [Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0719].
The closing of this request for comment (RFC) means that it is now time for the FDA to figure out what they might do with the original questions. That is, should they change the requirement for all packages of prescription drugs and many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in the U.S. to contain the National Drug Code (NDC) encoded into a linear barcode? And if so, what should they replace it with? The RFC doesn’t give any hints about how far they might go and simply asks a series of questions of the industry and interested parties, letting the respondents propose whatever they think the agency should do.
I have spent my Sunday afternoon reading (OK, in some instances, skimming) through all of the responses. They are available for anyone to read (or skim) at http://www.regulations.gov (search for FDA-2011-N-0719). Considering that the input received from this RFC may influence the FDA’s decision about what to replace the linear barcode requirement with, I think Continue reading Will the FDA Accept RFID for Drug Identification?