How does NFC technology change the medical industry?
Recently, Avery Dennison Smartrac, PragmatIC Semiconductor, and Schreiner MediPharm have cooperated with their respective expertise in their respective fields, using the powerful functions of NFC technology in the field of smart packaging in the medical industry. The reporter communicated with the representatives of these three companies, learned more details of their cooperation relationship, and discussed the broad prospects of NFC technology in the industry. The struggle between pharmaceutical companies and counterfeiters has always been like an arms race. Concerns about counterfeiting, traceability and other issues, coupled with the recent impact of COVID-19 and the accompanying security concerns, people are increasingly demanding more effective packaging solutions. This is where NFC technology can really play an important role. NFC's communication distance between two electronic devices does not exceed 4 cm, and can be used for secure payment, digital information exchange, and packaging labels. Avery Dennison Smartrac and other three companies have worked together to embed NFC smart tags into daily medical and pharmaceutical products. The purpose is not only to provide security requirements such as identity verification and data tamper-proofing, but also to provide consumers with a wide range of benefits, from convenient Re-order to quick-access instruction guides, social interactions, all of which can be done only with a smart phone with NFC function.
In fact, this is not the only NFC solution on the market. Avery Dennison Smartrac has also been active in this field for a long time. So in a practical sense, how does this particular project promote the application of this technology in the packaging industry? PragmatIC Chief Commercial Officer Alastair Hanlon (Alastair Hanlon) said: "PragmatIC has developed a silicon-free semiconductor chip manufacturing method. We can connect the high-frequency chip to the antenna, and Avery Dennison converts it into a smart label or Inlay, then Schreiner included them in the product label. The advantage of these chips is that they are thin and smart, can be integrated in the package, and the cost is much lower than traditional silicon chips." In actual market applications, the cost factor is particularly important. So far, due to the high price of traditional NFC Inlays and chips, such functions are limited to high-value or high-risk products such as biological products. If the price is lowered, these chips can be embedded in more low-value "daily" medical products, such as pill packaging, syringes, and vial labels. Stefan Wiedemann, director of strategic marketing and business development at Schreiner MediPharm, said: “Some biopharmaceuticals are worth hundreds of dollars, and the cost of labeling is only a small part of it. So far, these products have been used NFC tags are a reasonable choice. On the other hand, if it is a low-cost product, such as the COVID-19 vaccine, the situation is very different. The cost of each item is less than $20, so the tag has become an important part of the cost structure. In this case, we need a lower cost solution, or a very strong reason to justify the additional cost." Amir Khoshniyati, head of NFC business at Avery Dennison Smartrac, added: "In 2020, we have seen the growing demand for flexibility in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. These low-cost tags have It is flexible enough to adhere to different substrates. This collaboration can take our technology to a new level to meet this demand."
Enhanced security NFC is a form of RFID tag technology, but with the development of its functions, it can also be regarded as a "higher level" technology. This is why many people see it as a key technology for the pharmaceutical industry to move forward. Stefan said that the ingenuity of NFC lies in the full usability of smartphones as reading devices. The label also contains a unique product code, which has advantages in security, identity verification and traceability throughout the supply chain. Take the COVID-19 vaccine as an example. Although, sadly, there are already fake vaccines on the market, it is obviously very dangerous from the perspective of the trust of the vaccine plan and the harmful substances contained in these fake vaccines. The built-in security features provided by NFC are one way to solve this harmful threat. This is also a good way for brands that want to protect their intellectual property rights. Amir said: "This is a very powerful and secure emerging technology. Another component we want to add is the secure coding function to lock the label and data, which is very valuable in terms of brand protection. Comparable with other barcode technologies. Compared with NFC, NFC does not require a direct line of sight; compared with traditional QR codes, customers have fewer problems when using NFC tags. With NFC, consumers can customize the experience according to the application, thus enjoying smooth and non-stopping Experience." image Further opportunities At the moment, although the above issues are the most important, they are not just security and authentication issues. The application of NFC technology in the medical field can also enhance the patient experience. Stefan said: "In new drug delivery systems such as injection pens or home tests, patients will always have a lot of questions about the expiration date of the drug and the way the drug is used. If a medical company has a lot of temperature-sensitive drugs or a variety of instructions for use Medical equipment, they hope to provide users with information in a digital way. If users only use their smartphones to lean on this software package and get a video to teach people how to use this product, it will be a great thing. There is another one. This system can even help patients remember when they took the medicine when they are taking the medicine, which is also a way to solve the patient’s doubts." In summary, adding NFC functionality to daily medicines at a lower cost will be a huge opportunity for the industry. And this is not all, there are still many opportunities in other fields. "We have been talking about the pharmaceutical industry, but PragmatIC Semiconductor also operates in other markets, such as traceability and authenticity in the food industry. There are many other possibilities in the market. We have even seen some inquiries using NFC to ensure the legality of PPE In addition, this technology has also played a role in helping consumers understand packaging recycling, so it also involves the environment." This will undoubtedly be a disruptive technology and will continue to receive attention in the future. In addition to having the potential to disrupt the industry, there is one more point: the RFID project in the medical industry is a good example of what effect can be achieved through the actual collaboration of the entire supply chain.