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California pedigree delay proves fatal to pioneering IT firm
In the 2005-2008 period, leading up to when California announced a seven-year delay in implementing a drug-tracking pedigree program, no company was as deeply vested in drug pedigree technology as SupplyScape. And no company had lined up as many customers, including manufacturers, wholesaler-distributors and retail chains—the three most critical parts of an integrated, secure chain from manufacturer to end user.
Now, in a swift turn of events, SupplyScape has been sold off to another venture-backed firm, called TraceLink, which had come into being only days before the acquisition was announced. The key mover in this is Shabbir Dahod, founder of SupplyScape, who had left the company earlier, and has now reunited with the staff of SupplyScape.
Dahod was unavailable for comment, but a statement he has posted on the TraceLink website indicates that the new company will “completely support SupplyScape's existing customers as well as provide a strong technical foundation for the future,” including its E-Pedigree application, RxAuthentication service and Nexus network collaboration platform.
It’s hard to say where this support will lead, as the GS1 organization (which, with SupplyScape’s help, had promulgated the Drug Pedigree Messaging Service [DPMS]) has indicated that it is abandoning DPMS and moving wholly to another standard, Electronic Product Code Information Service (EPCIS). And while there was talk at the beginning of this year that the US Congress would revive legislation for pharmaceutical product security and anti-counterfeiting, no bill has been introduced, and Congress is consumed with the debate on overall healthcare reform. The California pedigree program was pushed out to 2015 (at the earliest).
Numerous states do have pedigree requirements in place and, depending on how they conduct their business, distributors are obligated to provide pedigree documentation today. But the grand vision of a national track-and-trace system for drug shipments remains on the horizon.
A statement on the TraceLink site hints at a new focus. The company says that it will provide applications that “enable the full, global pharmaceutical supply chain to track and trace products and business processes”—which could refer to the new emphasis on securing the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from supplier to manufacturer, and not just finished goods from the manufacturer to the end user.