Does the supply chain itself make any contribution to patient safety? The legitimate pharmaceutical supply chain is that complex web of companies that move drugs from the manufacturers to the pharmacies that dispense them to patients. The supply chain always includes both of those end points (manufacturer and pharmacy) and, in the U.S., normally also includes at least one wholesaler. The supply chain is typically viewed as “Manufacturer to Wholesaler to Pharmacy”, whether the pharmacy is within a hospital, clinic, retail independent, chain store, grocery store, or mail order. The great majority of prescription drugs arriving in the hands of U.S. patients have passed through this supply chain.
The effort to create the business and technical requirements for Discovery Services started just about two years ago and completed this past December. How long will it take to get to a ratified standard? The GS1 Discovery Services Work Group Charter predicts it will be done in June of 2011, but predictions in charter documents are notoriously optimistic. The EPCIS Charter predicted that standard would be ratified in August of 2005, for example—one third the time it actually took.
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