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Medical supply firm to sell patient RFID chips

Henry Schein will distribute Applied Digital's implantable VeriChips to doctors' offices across the country.

Medical-supply company Henry Schein has agreed to distribute implantable radio frequency identification chips to doctors' offices across the country--the first major sales push for the technology since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for medical use last month.

The rice grain-size devices, called VeriChips, enable doctors and other medical staff to instantly retrieve patients' medical records by scanning chips injected into the fatty tissue in their arms--much like a clerk scanning a can of peas at the grocery store. The distribution deal, announced Wednesday, is a big one for VeriChip maker Applied Digital. Henry Schein, based in Melville, N.Y., sells medical supplies to nearly 115,000 private medical practices in the United States and booked $3.4 billion in sales last year.