Drug counterfeiting is a worldwide problem. The U.S. FDA estimates that counterfeit drugs make up more than 10% of the global market, and there are other estimates that in regions such as Africa and Asia, that number could be as high as 30%.  No country is immune from the problem of counterfeit drugs. It is estimated that the pharmaceutical industry itself can write-off an estimated $2 billion in returned product annually because of lack of traceability to original manufacturing sources. We have previously noted on Supply Chain Matters how European and U.S. drug manufacturers are each taking different approaches toward conforming to legislative mandates for drug tracking, and technology is an important consideration for eventual wide-scale deployment.  The industry has moved away from what it perceives as more expensive RFID enabled item-tracking toward processes built on two-dimensional bar code enabled item tracking.

ERP and database technology provider Oracle recently announced the availability of an application to aide pharmaceutical and drug manufacturers in tracing their specific products and conforming to emerging ePedigree item-tracking standards.  This application, Oracle Pedigree and Serialization Manager, was designed to provide manufacturers an application to perform better product tracking, and is being shepherded by Oracle’s Supply Chain Management applications team. This application features an Operations Dashboard as its main screen and has the ability to track and display information about shipments, receipt volumes and potential counterfeit threats.  Oracle notes that this application was designed in an SOA framework to exist as a stand-alone application, and thus can coexist with other online transactional, ERP, manufacturing or warehouse systems.  Application functionality includes the ability to generate, manage, view and track item serial numbers in GS1 SGTIN standard format as well as sequential or random product neutral formats.  Leveraging its abilities in database technology, Oracle also included packaging-related query capabilities that provide searching for items based on their individual codes, or the identifier of their parent level.

In my short briefing with Jon Chorley, Vice President of SCM Product Strategy for Oracle, the vendor would disclose neither pricing nor which drug manufacturers participated in the development or currently utilize this application.  I’m hoping to receive a more detailed briefing and demonstration at a later date.

Bob Ferrari

Disclaimer: Oracle is not a current sponsor nor has any financial interests within the Supply Chain Matters blog.