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Side effects from Baxter Healthcare's heparin blood-thinning drug made headlines in January. A month later, the big story involved problems with fentanyl patches. Last year, the spotlight was on GlaxoSmithKline's Avandia diabetes medication, Novartis' Zelnorm irritable bowel syndrome drug, and a multitude of antidepressants. A slew of pharmaceutical makers have faced the pain of orchestrating a product recall due to industry or U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerns about contamination, defects, or linkages to adverse patient reactions.
But beyond the complex tactical and public relations cleanup associated with drug recalls, the recent spate of high-profile events points up a larger, more strategic challenge confronting the pharmaceutical industry: the lack of end-to-end visibility in the supply chain, which leads to the inability to easily track product down to the consumer level. Without the ability to track and trace a specific batch of pills or medicinal liquid to a specific pharmacy or healthcare provider, it's nearly impossible to keep a recall from impacting the entire product line.
Source: Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com
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