GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second largest pharmaceutical company, has announced that, by April, radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) will be attached to bottles of its antiretroviral drug Trizivir that are shipped to the United States.
GSK is taking this step as part of a pilot project designed in partnership with IBM to prevent counterfeiting of the drug. Pfizer has been using similar technology to tag bottles of Viagra since January.
RFIDs employ a silicon chip and antenna attached to each bottle that transmits a unique code that can be tracked by retailers and pharmacists with special scanning devices.
GSK chose Trizivir because it is one of the top 32 drugs most likely to be counterfeited or diverted according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated that up to 10% of the drugs on the world market are counterfeit.