In hopes of reducing errors made in administering medications at hospitals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing a new bar-code requirement. Under the proposed regulations, which are expected to receive final approval soon, bar codes will have to identify each drug and dosage.
Most major drugstore chains already employ bar-code scanning for pharmaceutical inventory tracking. But a few are ahead of the curve. Rhode Island- based drug-store chain CVS, for example, is piloting the RFID (radio-frequency identification) tagging of pharmacy goods at the pallet,case and item level. The company believes it may soon be able to identify customers and medications, so that prescriptions can be filled automatically when a shopper enters a store.