Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An Odd RFID-Importation Connection

Is Senator Dorgan using RFID to push his importation bill? Here’s some conspiracy thinking to chew on.

I came across a press release announcing the formation of the RFID Technology Council, an alliance of eight technology trade groups. One objective of the group is to support the U.S. Senate RFID Caucus.

For those who don’t know, the Caucus was formed last July by U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to “promote good public policy for radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.” See Senators Dorgan and Cornyn Launch Bipartisan Senate Caucus to Promote RFID Technology.

Here’s the twist: Senator Dorgan is also co-sponsoring the drug importation bill introduced two weeks ago in the Senate! (See Real News about Fake Drugs.)

Random coincidence? I doubt it.

Supply chain security is one (of the many) hurdles to importation. But check out this statement from Senator Dorgan’s web page about his importation bill: “The basic approach to assuring the drugs are safe in this bill is to give FDA the ability to verify the drug pedigree back to the manufacturer, to require FDA to inspect frequently, and to require fees to give FDA the resources to do this.”

Click! The belief that RFID is just around the corner could help to sell importation legislation.

Think about it -- the FDA has been fanning the flames of RFID hype for three years. Remember this quote from last June’s FDA report: “The technology vendors uniformly told us that their RFID and e-pedigree solutions and technologies are ready to go, but manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are slow to implement them.” (See FDA blind to the supply chain’s evolution.)

The RFID Technology Council helpfully removes the middleman and allows technology vendors to deliver the hype unfiltered to Senators looking to “validate” track-and-trace. In other words, Senator Dorgan is now in the perfect position to develop “evidence” that RFID solves any safety problems with importation. Believing is seeing!

Of course, Dorgan et al are dreaming if they think the FDA (or anyone) can monitor 4 billion prescriptions dispensed from 160,000+ locations while simultaneously enforcing pedigree rules with thousands of wholesalers. But I view this coincidence as another dangerous step toward endangering public health by opening up diversion doorways for criminals.

Has anyone else put the pieces of this puzzle together yet? Or do I sound like one of the Lone Gunmen?


  1. AnonymousMay 05, 2007

    What do the pedigree provisions of the bill actually say and what would that mean for manufacturers going forward?

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Please send me an email and we can discuss.