Category Archives: EPCIS

EPCIS Explained

At a recent GS1 discussion group meeting one of the moderators acknowledged that they need to create a clear explanation for exactly what EPCIS is.  I’ve never been very impressed with GS1’s ability to explain their own standards at a high-level for non-technical readers.  They do a great job of explaining them at the minutia-level, but that’s the problem.  Non-technical people who must make decisions about GS1 standards probably get bogged down in that minutia and end up not really understanding what it is, why it is significant, and why they should use it.  Too much technical documentation exists on how to apply EPCIS, and not enough documentation on the why.

Continue reading EPCIS Explained

The New GS1 US DSCSA Implementation Guidance Suite

A few weeks ago, GS1 US published version 1.2 of the DSCSA implementation guidance that documents how to apply GS1 standards when meeting the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).  GS1 US is the GS1 Member Organization (MO) in the United States, of GS1, the global supply chain standards organization.  Companies who market drugs in the U.S. pharma supply chain and their solution providers will find this new version to be an indispensable resource that will Continue reading The New GS1 US DSCSA Implementation Guidance Suite

InBrief: Pharma Supply Chain Leaders, Stop Throwing Interoperability Under The Bus

57558052_smallerDuring the report out and follow-up discussion at last week’s FDA Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) Pilots Workgroup (see “The 2016 FDA Pilots Workshop”) I heard an example of the industry throwing interoperability under the bus.  That is, setting us all up for major complications down the road that could easily be avoided if the leaders would just address interoperability right today.  One of the long-time leaders of the use of serialization and traceability in the U.S. pharma industry spoke up in front of the entire assembly and said that there existed a general “agreement” within the industry that “not everyone will use EPCIS”.  That is, not everyone will use GS1’s Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard for meeting the DSCSA, and consequently, the FDA and the industry will need to allow other formats of the data in 2023.  I just about fell out of my chair. Continue reading InBrief: Pharma Supply Chain Leaders, Stop Throwing Interoperability Under The Bus

Will GS1’s EPCIS Be Used Widely For DSCSA Data Exchange?

????????????????????????????????????????I am confident that GS1’s Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard will take center stage in 2023 when the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) transitions into what that law calls the “Enhanced Drug Distribution System”, or EDDS.  That’s when the DSCSA mandates that supply chain changes of ownership of prescription drugs must be documented in an interoperable electronic system based on their unique serial numbers.

Each of the steps that must be implemented by the industry between now and Continue reading Will GS1’s EPCIS Be Used Widely For DSCSA Data Exchange?

Will Use Of EPCIS Force Everyone To Use GS1 Identifiers?

EPCISOver the last five years the larger companies in the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain have increasingly aligned around GS1’s Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard for holding and communicating serialization-based events.  The hope and expectation by many of these manufactures and others in the supply chain is that EPCIS will be the standard that ensures supply-chain-wide interoperability in any future track and trace or ePedigree system that the federal government might impose.  On its surface it appears that EPCIS is designed around GS1’s family of serialized identifiers, which are based on GS1’s GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) (see “Anatomy of a GTIN” and “Your GS1 Company Prefix: An Enterprise Resource“).  This includes Continue reading Will Use Of EPCIS Force Everyone To Use GS1 Identifiers?

The Future of Traceability Repositories and Inventory Management Systems

Figure 1.

I think there is a significant difference between the traceability repositories we see on the market today and those that I think we are likely to see in the future.  Today, traceability repositories are typically implemented by software suppliers as standalone applications or modules that we end users refer to as “an EPCIS”.  We call it that because the most defining characteristic of these modules is that they implement GS1’s Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard.  Today, traceability repository vendors expect customers to buy their traceability module and integrate it with existing applications.  For a long time now I have felt that this approach was less than optimal and I think we will eventually see a switch occur in the software market toward existing application vendors adding traceability repositories and EPCIS interfaces as new features added to their existing functionality.  Let me explain. Continue reading The Future of Traceability Repositories and Inventory Management Systems

Use of GLN and GTIN for Pedigree Regulatory Compliance

I am fortunate to have so many friends and colleagues who work in end-user and solution provider companies and who are impacted by the issues I cover in my blog. After each post I often exchange emails and phone calls with some of them and we discuss/debate what I’ve written about. These are great conversations because they sometimes confirm my opinions and sometimes challenge them, but I almost always come away with a more refined understanding of the technology or regulation we discussed. That is, I learn something.

This is exactly what has been happening with my recent series on Supply Chain Master Data (SCMD). As I’ve defined it, SCMD is just like regular old Master Data (MD) except that the identifier and the full data set behind each instance of SCMD has a single owner, and all parties in the supply chain who may encounter the identifier must have a way of obtaining the full set of data from the owner so they know what the identifier means. But this assumes that only the identifier will be used in supply chain data communications in place of the full data set that the ID refers to.

GLN’s On Electronic Invoices

Let’s take GS1’s GLN (Global Location Number), for example. You can use GLN’s in two ways: as true SCMD, or in a non-SCMD way.

An example of using GLN’s as SCMD in an invoice application would result in an electronic invoice that did not have any explicit addresses in it–no customer billing address, no customer shipping address and no “remit payment to” address. Instead, it would simply include the customer’s billing GLN, the customer’s shipping GLN and the “remit payment to” GLN. Each party in this example would have already obtained the full addresses from their respective owners in some way, either through a registry (like GS1 U.S.’s GLN Registry for Healthcare), or directly from the owner, so there is no need to include that data on each invoice between these parties.

The non-SCMD use of GLN’s occurs when a company uses a GLN identifier as a way of obtaining their trading partner’s full address, and then they would put the full address on each of their invoices for that partner. This approach makes use of GLN’s to “synchronize” the address master data that each trading partner keeps locally. Continue reading Use of GLN and GTIN for Pedigree Regulatory Compliance

Pedigree Models and Supply Chain Master Data

Important Notice To Readers of This Essay On November 27, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 into law. That act has many provisions, but one is to pre-empt all existing and future state serialization and pedigree laws like those that previously existed in California and Florida. Some or all of the information contained in this essay is about some aspect of one or more of those state laws and so that information is now obsolete. It is left here only for historical purposes for those wishing to understand those old laws and the industry’s response to them.Right now there is only one industry standard that can be used to comply with the various drug pedigree laws in the United States. That’s the GS1 Drug Pedigree Messaging Standard (DPMS), which was created in 2006 by a group of technology experts and participants from nearly all segments of the U.S. supply chain culminating in GS1 ratification in January 2007. Many of those companies began using DPMS even before it was ratified because the Florida Pedigree Law went into effect in July 2006. Since then, companies are using it to comply with other state pedigree laws as well as for the pedigree provisions of the federal government’s Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) of 1988 (stayed until December 2006). Interestingly, a few companies have chosen to require DPMS pedigrees today for trading partner risk mitigation even where there is no existing regulatory requirement to do so.

A few months after GS1 ratified the DPMS standard, they ratified the Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard. This is a more general purpose standard intended for use in all supply chains that have a need to track and trace serialized products. Everyone acknowledges that it doesn’t make sense to try to use it for compliance with PDMA, Florida or other state pedigree laws because they do not require serialization, but in 2015 the California Pedigree Law will go into effect and one of its unique provisions requires item-level serialization.  Some see this as an ideal place to apply EPCIS.

There are lots of ways to contrast these two standards and their use for pedigree law compliance, but probably the most striking difference is how they each treat Supply Chain Master Data (SCMD). I defined SCMD in a previous post as “…that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the supply chain.

GLN as SCMD

Addresses are an example of a “business entity” that can be treated as SCMD. GS1 defines a location identifier they call a Global Location Number (GLN) that can be used to refer to an address. A GLN is a structured series of digits that can be assigned to refer to a single address (among other things). Refer to the GS1 General Specification for the details. Continue reading Pedigree Models and Supply Chain Master Data