Bar-coding a must to check counterfeit drugs: DCGI

Updated: Aug 16, 2011, 20:48 PM IST

New Delhi: The pharmaceutical industry will have to adopt bar-coding system to track and trace origin of drugs to align with evolving global measures against counterfeit drugs, a senior government official said today.

While acknowledging the domestic industry`s concerns over their ability to comply with deadlines, Drugs Controller General (DCGI) of India Surinder Singh said companies would be given time to comply.

"We have to be adaptable to the changes but transition time will be given to the industry," Singh said while addressing a conference and exposition on track & trace bar-coding systems for pharmaceuticals here.

Stressing the need for Indian firms to adopt the system with the country being the third largest pharmaceuticals producer in the world, he said: ""These technologies have
already been introduced by the countries like Malaysia, China and to some extent Turkey".

Track and trace bar-coding system allows the medicine to be traced and tracked to its source of origin.

As per a notification issued by the government on June 30, 2011 companies will have to have bar-codes on all tertiary level packaging (such as cartons) for exports from October 1, 2011. For the secondary packaging (like packets), mandatory bar-coding will be from January 1, 2012.

Bar coding on primary level packaging (on bottles, vials or strips) for exports will come in force from July 1, 2012.

The Indian pharma industry has been divided over the issue, with small and medium industries (SMEs) stating it would lead to cost escalation. Large companies, including
multinationals, on the other hand said it had to be adopted.

Ranbaxy President Corporate Affairs & Global Corporate Communications Ramesh Adige said: "As the Indian pharma industry is poised at a cusp it could clearly take a defining role in determining the future of the global pharma landscape".

The industry has also demanded that the government should also extend the time line for implementation as the current time frame is not realistic.


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