Protecting Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

Retailers lose as estimated $45 billion annually to retail theft additionally foodborne illnesses annually cost more the $50 billion in the United States and cause more than 120,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths (Scharff 2012; CDC 2016) due to insufficient refrigeration. “UCR tag can be a promising replacement of barcode/QR code for protecting supply chain and help preserve the cold chain for commodities (e.g. food, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, etc.) sensitive to temperature,” advised co-inventor Kun Yang Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. Mark Tehranipoor IEEE Fellow Intel, Charles E. Young Preeminence Endowed Professor in Cybersecurity at the University of Florida at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Associate Professor Domenic Forte and Haoting Shen, Ph.D. a postdoctoral associate at the University of Florida play a significant roles in this prolific team of inventors.

These researchers at the University of Florida have developed an unclonable, environmentally-sensitive, low-cost, chipless tag that can be attached to packages, directly integrated onto printed circuit boards of electronic products, or be printed on products or packaging with conductive ink. Temperature-sensitive RFID tags that can trace and track items without risk of cloning by third parties. IDs generated by the tags depend on random process variations during fabrication, making each tag unique and unclonable. The tags do not require post-processing to encode data, significantly reducing manufacturing time and cost. Uses lookup method instead of exhaustive search, dramatically speeding up the authentication process of the tags. The tags can track the temperatures of commodities in the supply chain in an irreversible way, allowing businesses to monitor temperature-sensitive items.

The introduction of this invention to the market will drastically change the way retailors counter theft furthermore it will give the opportunity for merchants to build trust with their consumers that the quality and integrity of the products are not diminished.

[1]. Time–Temperature Management Along the Food Cold Chain: A Review of Recent Developments
[2]. Shoplifting and Other Fraud Cost Retailers Nearly $50 Billion Last Year