JADAK VIDEO: RFID Anti-Counterfeiting For Medical Consumables

An Information video on anti-counterfeiting systems using RFID technology. This example illustrates how RFID can provide powerful anti-counterfeiting solutions to combat product forgery specific to medical consumables.

*Want to learn more about JADAK’s RFID based Anti-Counterfeiting technologies?  Register for a Tech Consultation Day from the experts at JADAK! Also, be sure to visit our RFID Products and Services,  Barcode and Machine Vision pages.


Below is the video transcript.


made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud.

Counterfeiting within the Medical Industry…

Counterfeiting in the medical industry is a problem that grows at an alarming rate costing manufacturers billions of dollars a year in lost revenue and investment not to mention the health risks and hazards created as a result.

From medical devices and equipment to pharmaceuticals and medical consumables used in research and clinical applications, the value of these products makes them an enticing target for counterfeiters.

The ease with which the packaging for pharmaceuticals and consumables can be forged and the products themself counterfeited to appear identical to the genuine article, makes these products particularly susceptible to imitation.

The profits to the counterfeiters and the losses to the authentic manufacturer are staggering.

As mentioned, packaging for medical consumables can be readily imitated and in the case of clinical reagents the disposed product containers themselves are often just illegally collected and refilled with imitation product, sealed, relabeled and sold.

The Basics of RFID Technology…

RFID is a widely accepted labeling technology familiar to people in the application for inventory control and security.

What many people don’t realize is that RFID Technology is also capable of providing powerful Anti-Counterfeiting solutions to prevent the unauthorized and often hazardous forgery of medical products.

Let’s start by discussing the basics of RFID Technology, there are 2 key components involved, the first is the RFID tag, which can be compared in simple terms to a little flash drive.

The RFID tag can simply have the information it contains limited to being read only but other types of tags are capable of having information updated or changed as desired.

RFID tags are attached or embedded into the product and certain types can be smaller than a grain of rice. The basic components of an RFID tag are an antenna and a microchip where data is stored and processed.

RFID tags are also referred to as “transponders” (a device for receiving a radio signal and automatically transmitting a different signal.)

The second component is the RFID Reader/Writer. This part of the system is where the radio signal is broadcast from the Reader to activate the RFID tag causing it to transpond it’s contained information back.

The RFID reader decodes the transmitted data and will then pass it onto a CPU or network depending on what is desired. To write to the tag, this same process in reverse is used to send data back for updating.

RFID Readers/Writers come in many form factors from handheld devices such as JADAK’s HS-1R and the Bluetooth HS-2R (which can also read barcodes) to integrated reader modules and antennas and even desktop RFID readers, all platforms that JADAK engineers and manufactures.

It’s important to note that RFID technology does not require “line-of-sight” access and because of that, “nested” inventory, security and Anti-Counterfeiting control is possible.

This means individual products can be accounted for and associated to the case box they are contained in, which in turn can be accounted for and associated to the pallet it is part of, which is accounted for and associated to the container or truck it is on/in, all the way up to the ship, train, plane etc.

All tag information can then be both read and updated at every key step in the logistics process.

RFID as an Anti-Counterfeiting Technology…

The ability of RFID technology to both read and write data to an RFID Tag provides the basis for an Anti-Counterfeiting system based on confirmation of a products authenticity. (They can talk back and forth to each other!)

In the past, counterfeiters have been able to depend on the fact that if they can make their fakes look close enough to the real thing they can successfully pass it off as such.

This was possible because everything they needed to duplicate was there on the original. With an RFID system in place the attached tag is really like a lock where the reader/writer provides the key to open it with.

In the days of U.S. prohibition, speakeasies (illicit liquor stores or nightclubs) would ask patrons at the entrance for a specific password, the doorman knew the answer and if the patron did too they were allowed in.

As a way to further illustrate, let’s use the clinical reagents as an example…

Image a clinical blood analyzer equipped with an embedded RFID Reader/Writer, as the technician loads a new reagent container labeled with an RFID tag into the analyzer the machine will not accept the new container without first verifying it’s authenticity.

The RFID Reader pings the reagent’s tag, the tag in turn asks a cryptographic question and the reader then provides the correct answer.

With the correct answer, the tag then releases it’s product information to the analyzer. The entire process validates the reagent’s genuine status and the technician is allowed to complete the installation.

Only a properly programmed RFID reader/writer can answer the encrypted question. At the same time the Reader/Writer can issue (write) an updated/new (encrypted) challenge question to the tag on the installed reagent container.

This question update provides an additional level of performance and functional security.

The process of using reagents in clinical applications often requires that reagents and their containers be “swapped out” for other reagent solutions for conducting different test types.

Many reagent manufacturers have restrictions for how many times they can be accessed or set a specific time period these reagents may be kept “active”.

The read/write updating process can track these restrictions and usages and guarantee adherence to the manufacturers standards.

A final note to this RFID Question/Answer process, another level of security can be incorporated by also having an encrypted question exist on the reader that the tag must then provide the correct answer to.

JADAK can help you create a secure and complete RFID Ant-Counterfeiting system…

JADAK has the engineering experience, technology and RFID product platforms needed to help you create and integrate an RFID based Ant-Counterfeiting system designed to suit your needs.

Visit us at jadaktech.com and contact us for more information.

This is Mark Waterman, Director of Design at JADAK saying, thanks for watching.



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