Over the next two weeks I have a very special treat for RxTrace readers. It is an interview with Ken Traub, GS1 standards expert and independent consultant. The subject is GS1 serial number randomization, something so important that I think pharma companies ought to give deep thought to it before they turn on their serial number applications.
Pharma manufacturer who sell into the E.U. and/or Brazil markets will be forced to randomize their serial numbers because of regulatory requirements, but even those who only sell into the U.S. market should strongly consider randomization. I’ll have more to say about why in a follow-up essay after this series is over.
Because the interview with Ken covers the topic so thoroughly, it is long. That’s good, because it provides readers with an easy to understand explanation of everything they need to know about randomizing. But it also makes for a very long essay, so I have broken the interview down into five RxTrace essays. Read sequentially, they contain the complete interview. The subtopics covered by those essays include:Continue reading Randomization—An Interview with Ken Traub—Part 1: GS1 Serial Number Considerations→
There is a new and valuable resource available for anyone who needs to make use of both GS1 RFID and GS1 barcodes–or even just one or the other–on any product or shipping container and in any supply chain. It is called “RFID Bar Code Interoperability, GS1 Guideline” and it is available as a free PDF download here on the GS1 website.
This is a guidance document, which means that it isn’t a standard itself but draws contents from GS1 standards documents to better explain the subject. In this particular case it draws primarily from the GS1 General Specifications and the Tag Data Standard. Both of those source documents are huge and so you will find this new guidance document a relative joy to read if you need this kind of information.
The proposed FDA UDI rule requires the use of human readable and at least one AIDC technology to carry the new standardized identifier on all non-exempt devices and/or their packages. An AIDC technology is a way of Continue reading FDA Proposed UDI: AIDC Requirements→
The use of HIBCC standards is fairly common in the U.S. medical surgical devices supply chain but in the pharmaceutical supply chain it is very rare. Most companies choose GS1’s barcode standards so that’s all I’m going to focus on in this essay. If you want more information Continue reading Depicting An NDC Within A GTIN→
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the concept of the National Drug Code (NDC) in 1969 to “…provide an identification system in computer language to permit automated processing of drug data by Government agencies, drug manufacturers and distributors, hospitals, and insurance companies” (from 34 FR 11157, July 2, 1969). (I can’t find a copy online of the original Federal Register article from 1969 so I’m relying on a more recent article that references it.) Those of us in the U.S. pharma supply chain make use of NDC’s every day, but very few of us know the history of their development, exactly how the numbers are composed and what they mean. I’ll try to explain all of that and provide sources for further reading.
HISTORY OF THE NDC
The NDC was initially a voluntary identifier (see references at the end of this essay). We all know how that would have turned out (for more on that thought, see my recent essay “Should Regulations Dictate Technology?“) so in 1972 the FDA made the NDC mandatory for all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Manufacturers were required to obtain a “Labeler Code” from the FDA, construct their NDC’s using that code as the base and print the NDC number on drug packages. Barcodes were not required by the FDA back then.
GS1 EPCglobal ratified and published the most recent version of the Tag Data Standard (TDS), 1.5. I have always been a fan of TDS, but earlier versions served as much to expose embarassing disconnects in GS1 standards as they did to explain how to apply GS1 identifiers in an Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) context. Earlier versions of TDS tightly bound the concept of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) to RFID, and that’s just wrong. “EPC”, even as defined in those earlier versions of TDS, is a way of uniquely identifying objects on a global basis. It’s purely a globally unique identifier standard. That’s a hugely important and relatively new concept. RFID–a simple data carrier technology that’s been around for many years–is almost insignificant in comparison.
Even the name “Tag Data Standard” reflects this wrong-headed binding of EPC to RFID by seeming to place the RFID “Tag” at the center of the “standard”. Yes, there is a need for a “Tag Data Standard”, to show how to encode an EPC into an RFID tag, but it is wrong to Continue reading Masterpiece: GS1 Tag Data Standard 1.5→
…a comprehensive exploration of the intersection between healthcare supply chains, track and trace technology, standards and global regulatory compliance
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