Express Pharma

Preventing counterfeiting with global identification standard

S Swaminathan, COO, GS1 explains how adoption of global standards can bring enhanced efficiencies in the supply chain and benefit all stakeholders of the life sciences and healthcare industries

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In the wake of increasing counterfeit of pharma products, especially COVID related products, it is necessary for every product/device manufacturer to adopt and implement counterfeit detection solutions in their supply chain. This would ensure patient safety by ensuring only genuine products reach to patients.

The adoption of global standards within supply chains of drugs and PPE ensure unique identification of products in a manner that it can be used by every stakeholder in the supply chain – manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, druggist/hospital, etc. This can be done through encoding the unique product identifiers in barcodes. This lends visibility in the supply chain and ensures that products can be tracked anytime, and hence detect counterfeits at the point of infiltration.

Currently, medical device regulation and export regulation in India are endorsing the use of global identification standard (GTIN) for uniquely identifying drugs/ medical devices in the supply chain.

Additionally, GTIN (unique product identifier) is one of the common requirements in various Central and State tender requirements. These are also used by Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI) for efficient inventory management at Janaushadhi warehouses.

GS1 2D data matrix is most widely used by the healthcare industry across the world. This benefits all stakeholders (manufacturers, distributors, hospitals, chemists and patients), including regulators as it helps them ensure product authentication by arresting counterfeit, besides enabling track and trace, effective recall and expiry management.”

Use of GTIN (unique product identifiers) also ensures accurate billings at chemist outlets as pharmacy chains such as Apollo, 98.3, Rx, etc., as they would not need to stick products with an additional barcode, and hence, saves time and effort in stickering, besides enhancing accuracy in patient billing.

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