Information Quality Issues in the Identification and Tracking of Drugs within the Pharmaceutical Industry

Information Quality Issues in the Identification and Tracking of Drugs within the Pharmaceutical Industry

Dinah M. Mande (University of Arkansas – Little Rock, USA) and Rolf T. Wigand (University of Arkansas – Little Rock, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0248-7.ch004
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This contribution examines solutions how Information Quality (IQ) dimensions as a framework along with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and the Electronic Product Code Information System (EPCIS) as tools may improve needed drug trackability and traceability capabilities in the pharmaceutical industry (PI). For years counterfeit drugs have been impacting the industry and putting patients' health in danger. We analyze applications, methods and practices in the improvement of the quality of drug tracking and tracing. The potential of IQ, RFID, EPCIS and related applications and technologies suggest and design corresponding information and materials flows. This research presents examinations, reviews and recommendations and utilizes two theoretical frameworks: Transaction Cost Theory and Collective Action Theory. This setting may be viewed as a large, complex and international web of corporations, legislation, regulatory efforts, compliance regimes, manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies, importers as well as rapidly advancing technologies and applications.
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Literature Review

This literature review addresses several bodies of literature. They include identity management and authentication, dimensions of Information Quality, various technologies and applications such as RFID, counterfeiting in general, as well as the practice of counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry.

In the following section we provide an overview of identity management.

Identity Management

Identity management is simply a tool to help identify a person, place, or thing (Millet & Holden, 2003). It can be used within multiple areas, including technology and security. Confirming the identity of a person is a common event, such as showing an ID when attempting to cash a check at the bank. For many products, identities are not as essential. For example, the manufacturer of nails does not necessarily care where the metal comes from. But, the beef industry needs to know the origin of a cow. These examples show how identity management can come in multiple forms, but its importance depends on the field in which it is utilized.

Along with identity management, authentication is a means of confirming something or someone to be authentic (Millet & Holden, 2003). It can also confirm the identity of a person or tracing the path of an item back to its origin. To authenticate an item, its attributes are compared with known characteristics of its creator. For example, a painting from Picasso can be authenticated by art experts by examining the attributes of the work. If they match known patterns, such as style, time of creation, etc., then the painting can be called authentic.

Identity management is a key concern when dealing with authenticity of a drug or drug component. The dilemma with counterfeit drugs and drug components is that they look authentic, i.e. their identity seems to be the same as they look real, i.e. just like the real thing, including the packaging, the design, logos as well as printing on the package. Another focal concern with counterfeit drugs is the information, the lack of information associated or provided with the drug as well as counterfeit drug.

The next section addresses dimensions of Information Quality.

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