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The 2023 DSCSA requirement looms in the near future and pharma companies are frantically working together to create and implement the technological goals that create the interoperable system by November 27, 2023. To achieve the three areas of interoperability as defined by the PDSA—exchange, verification, and tracing—these companies must also land on a common informational framework.
In other words, to create a system that allows for the DSCSA vision of “fully interoperable, electronic tracing of products at the package level,” the industry needs to pick a common standard and use it throughout pharma. I discuss the challenges in my previous article: Drug Supply Chain Security Act, Phase II: Here’s what you MUST know.
Gary Lerner, the president at Gateway Checker Corporation, explained what it would take to make this happen. In short: “Capturing and exchanging information at this level of specificity requires a common information framework.”
Before the pandemic struck, the pharma industry was working feverishly to implement and enforce all the requirements of the DSCSA, especially the Phase II requirements scheduled for November of 2023. When COVID-19 dramatically changed the business landscape, the implementation became even more of an uphill battle, with both time and the pandemic acting as a cause of concern.
In today’s post, we will look at COVID-19 and its impact on the DSCSA: from the FDA loosening some of the guidelines to the different areas of the DSCSA that are being impacted the most. If we can understand the relationship between these two, we can have a better grasp of realistic understandings and the best course of action moving forward.
In 2020, most things did not go as planned. Considering the overwhelming impact of the worldwide pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry was far from immune to last year’s instability.
One of the major changes came with the Saleable Returns Verification’s extension. Despite being originally scheduled for a 2020 enactment, the FDA recently announced their plan to extend, yet again, the Saleable Returns Verification enforcement until 2023.
What does this really mean? Well the FDA won’t enforce it. So should you not care? It’s not that simple.
Remember, the law is the law. So the Saleable Returns Verifcation did become a requirement of the law this past November 27th 2020.
As 2020 transitioned to 2021, we took another step closer toward the implementation of 2023 Drug Supply Chain Security Act, Phase II. From manufacturers to wholesalers, pharmacies and other stakeholders, many uncertainties are swirling around the subject, so today we are writing to try to dispel some of the concern.
Let’s start with an overview of DSCSA Phase II and its components.
DSCSA Phase II, which goes into effect on November 27, 2023, is intended to roll out the electronic tracing of products at the package level. To make this happen, the 2023 requirements are comprised of three specific parts, and they are as follows:
On March 10, 2020, Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services of the US government, declared a public health emergency (PHE) under Section 319F of the Public Health Service Act “…to provide liability immunity for activities related to medical countermeasures against COVID-19.” This action immediately opened an exemption embedded in the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) for the “covered persons” performing the “covered countermeasures” aimed at the specific “threat” in the covered “geographic area”, for the identified “population” for the “effective time period” specifically identified in the declaration.
There are quite a few people people in the industry who misunderstand how the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) was designed to protect the supply chain. The most common misunderstanding is that it is a full “track and trace” system where drugs are verified at each step. In fact, the DSCSA is mainly just a breadcrumb system that forces companies in the supply chain to retain standardized documentation of supply chain events, “just in case”. Very few drug packages will ever get “verified” at any point in their existence in the supply chain. And that’s by design.
Happy New Year! 2020 is going to be an important year for the industry to work with the FDA to figure out how the 2023 requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) will be met. A lot has to happen, and so far, the industry is making the right moves to make it happen. The question is, will the FDA join them in time?
…a comprehensive exploration of the intersection between healthcare supply chains, track and trace technology, standards and global regulatory compliance
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