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Texas Instruments Outlines Industry-Wide Plan for Securing the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

White paper offers flexible approach to item-level RFID deployment and development of a secure tag data infrastructure

Dec 6, 2006

A growing number of counterfeit, gray market and diverted products are entering the pharmaceutical supply chain, compromising consumer confidence in the authenticity of their prescription drugs. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is poised to help secure the supply chain, but to do so, the industry needs Item-Level Tagging (ILT) standards, regulatory guidance from the federal government and alignment on a Tag Data Security Infrastructure (TDSI). A new white paper from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN), “RFID Tag Data Security Infrastructure: A Common Ground Approach for Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Safety,” defines the key deliverables and requirements needed to achieve agreement between segments of the supply chain concerned with privacy, as well as the ability to use product information to improve operational efficiencies.

In addition to defining the necessary elements for deploying RFID at the item-level, TI's paper lays the foundation for a TDSI for these initiatives. The TDSI is a set of rules, specifications and common protocols that enable item-level tags and readers to work within and across the industry's information technology ecosystem. This proposed approach has the potential to unify the industry's efforts to achieve a safer and more secure pharmaceutical supply chain.

“The TDSI model is about delivering a secure RFID solution that raises confidence in the authenticity of prescriptions while protecting privacy,” said Joseph Pearson, business development manager, TI-RFid™ Systems, and author of the new white paper. “By augmenting network-based applications with the capability of anytime, anywhere authentication and product information, we're bringing together all pharmaceutical supply chain stakeholders, while laying the groundwork for other high-value branded goods markets.”

Leading RFID infrastructure providers, Nosco Inc., Northern Apex and Sirit Inc., also support the need for a secure tag data infrastructure:

Nosco Inc.:

Gregg Metcalf, industry market manager at Nosco, Inc., a leading producer of RFID-enabled pharmaceutical printed packaging, said: “Using an EPC number as its cornerstone, the secure tag data infrastructure proposed in TI's paper always supports network-based applications. Further, the paper's support of the need for decentralized data is very important to gain acceptance by the entire supply chain.”

Northern Apex:

“Beyond improvements against counterfeiting, pharmaceutical manufacturers and retailers have different end uses in mind for tag data,” said Rick Raber, chief technologist for lead RFID integrator Northern Apex. “The approach outlined in TI's paper supports both those who want applications with data accessed completely from a database, and others who may want data from the tag directly for local applications, like a smart shelf for automatic inventory.”

Sirit Inc.:

“The cryptography proposed in TI's paper would enable a single standardized methodology for tags and readers that takes both authentication and product encryption capability into consideration,” said Fred Veinot, vice president of business development at Sirit Inc., a leading provider of RFID reader technology. “This is significant because an internationally accepted cryptographic standard will be critical for industry agreement on an item-level tag standard in EPCglobal working groups.”

About Texas Instruments RFid Systems

Texas Instruments is the world’s largest integrated manufacturer of radio frequency identification (RFID) transponders and reader systems. Capitalizing on its competencies in high-volume semiconductor manufacturing and microelectronics packaging, TI is a visionary leader and at the forefront of establishing new markets and international standards for RFID applications. For more information, contact TI-RFid™ Systems at 1-800-962-7343 (North America) or +1 214-567-7343 (International), or visit the Web site at www.ti-rfid.com.

Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers’ real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Educational & Productivity Solutions business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries. Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.