Stacey Jones
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Caitlin Storhaug
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February 18, 2004
Accenture Helps Form RFID Industry Group to Evaluate Technology’s Value in Pharmaceutical Industry

WASHINGTON; Feb. 18, 2004 – Accenture today announced the formation of a group of industry leaders that will work together to evaluate the potential of new radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to enhance pharmaceutical product manufacturing, distribution and retail operations within the United States.

Accenture is serving as program manager for the group of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and retailers, which includes Abbott Laboratories, Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cardinal Health, CVS Pharmacy, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Rite Aid and others. Additionally, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) and National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) are supporting the group by providing their members with additional information and education-related opportunities for this program.

This innovative project will explore the application of EPC and RFID and technologies to three areas: enhancing the safety and security of the pharmaceutical supply chain; improving the process of pharmaceutical returns management; and increasing the efficiency of distribution operations. The group also plans to help encourage use of the new electronic product code (EPC) digital identification standard throughout the pharmaceutical industry.

“These technologies are becoming widely recognized as a powerful tool,” said Jamie Hintlian, a partner in Accenture’s Health & Life Sciences practice. “The RFID initiative is groundbreaking in that it brings together leading companies across the pharmaceutical industry to not only design and evaluate ways to improve supply chain integrity and accuracy but, also to help consumers receive authentic medicines.”

In studying these issues, the group has worked with the Food and Drug Administration’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force on how RFID and EPC technologies can mitigate the risk of counterfeit drugs making it to market.

In addition, the group plans to test how RFID technology can improve:

  • expiration date management;

  • lot and batch tracking;

  • returns management processing;

  • shipping and receiving accuracy;

  • operational integrity;

  • and product security and consumer safety, among other areas.

“The program’s goal is to explore the benefits that full adoption of this emerging technology could bring to consumers as well as companies throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain,” said Lyle Ginsburg, a partner in Accenture’s Products Operating Group. “We also plan to help participating companies accelerate the technology learning curve and to share our findings with the industry.”

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 86,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$11.8 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2003. Its home page is

About Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals and medical products, including devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 70,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott’s news releases and other information are available on the company’s Web site at

About Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc and its subsidiaries currently manufacture and distribute more than 100 different dosage forms and strengths of pharmaceutical products in core therapeutic categories. A research-intensive pharmaceutical company, Barr’s product line is concentrated primarily in the oncology, female healthcare (including hormone therapy and oral contraceptives), cardiovascular, anti-infective and psychotherapeutics therapeutic categories. In its most recent fiscal year ended June 30, 2003, Barr recorded revenues of $903 million.

About Cardinal Health
Cardinal Health is the leading provider of products and services supporting the health care industry. Cardinal Health develops, manufactures, packages and markets products for patient care; develops drug-delivery technologies; distributes pharmaceuticals and medical, surgical and laboratory supplies; and offers consulting and other services that improve quality and efficiency in health care. Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health employs more than 50,000 people on five continents and produces annual revenues of more than $50 billion. Cardinal Health is ranked No.19 on the current Fortune 500 list and named one of the best U.S. companies by Forbes magazine for 2004.

About CVS
Celebrating more than 40 years of dynamic growth, CVS is committed to being the easiest pharmacy retailer for customers to use. CVS serves the healthcare needs of all customers through its over 4,100 stores and its online pharmacy,

About HDMA
HDMA’s mission is to secure safe and effective distribution of healthcare products, create and exchange industry knowledge affecting the future of distribution management, and influence standards and business processes that produce efficient healthcare commerce. HDMA member wholesale distributors are responsible for ensuring that billions of units of medication safely make their way to tens of thousands of retail pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other provider sites across the United States in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. HDMA member wholesalers also provide extensive, value-added services to customers, including automated ordering and delivery solutions, inventory management offerings, specialty product handling services, retail marketing and advertising assistance, and educational programs.

About Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson, with approximately 110,600 employees, is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson & Johnson has more than 200 operating companies in 54 countries around the world, selling products in more than 175 countries.

About McKesson
McKesson Corporation is a Fortune 20 healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes and improving the quality and safety of patient care. Over the course of its 170-year history, McKesson has grown to provide pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, homecare and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information, visit us at

About National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
NACDS represents the nation’s leading retail chain pharmacies and suppliers, helping them better meet the changing needs of their patients and customers. NACDS members operate more than 35,000 pharmacies, employ 120,000 pharmacists, fill more than 2.1 billion prescriptions yearly, and have annual sales of over $500 billion. Other members include more than 1000 suppliers of products and services to the chain drug industry. For more information about NACDS, visit

About Pfizer
Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and animals and many of the world’s best-known consumer brands. The company’s innovative, value-added products improve the quality of life of people around the world and help them enjoy longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Pfizer has three business segments: health care, animal health and consumer health care. Its products are available in more than 150 countries.

About P&G
Two billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the largest and strongest portfolios of trusted, quality brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Bounty®, Pringles®, Folgers®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Actonel®, Olay® and Clairol Nice ’n Easy®. The P&G community consists of nearly 98,000 employees working in almost 80 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

About Rite Aid
Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with annual revenues of nearly $16 billion and approximately 3,400 stores in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at