Some countries mandate the use of GS1 standards for drug product identification and package and case barcodes. The European Commission seems to tolerate GS1 standards, leaving it up to each member state to decide. Most use them, a few held onto their own national codes as long as they could. China is taking their time warming up to the GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) but it seems to be happening. That is, I think it’s happening. The United States has always had its own national numbering system for identifying drugs, known as the National Drug Code (NDC) (see “Anatomy Of The National Drug Code”). Because they are running out of numbers to identify new manufacturers (labelers), they are considering changes to the NDC that could break the ability to encode an NDC within a GTIN (see “How To Properly Define GTINs For Your NDCs”, “FDA New NDC Format Public Meeting” and “An Open Letter To The FDA: New NDC Format Public Meeting”). The USA is not the only country to be considering a break with GS1 standards. Indonesia will allow QR Codes on drug packages, and now there is a movement in the India government to move away from GS1 standards. What’s going on here? Can GS1 hold onto drug identification around the world? Let’s take a look.Continue reading Can GS1 Hold Onto Drug Identification Worldwide?
GS1 makes modifications and additions to their General Specifications every year—sometimes even twice a year. The latest is version 19 and was published in January 2019. The “GenSpecs” contain the full detailed definitions of every GS1 “key” and every GS1 barcode. While it doesn’t contain the definitions of every GS1 standard, it is the catch-all specification for their traditional core—mostly barcode related—standards. This is where GS1’s keys are defined, included the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN, Application Identifier, or AI = 01), Global Location Number (GLN), Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC, AI = 00), Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI, AI = 8003) and all the others. Last year (GenSpecs version 18) GS1 introduced their latest key, the Global Model Number (GMN, AI = 8013). It’s an important addition, particularly for healthcare. Let me explain.Continue reading Meet The Latest GS1 Key: The Global Model Number (GMN)
Aggregation of saleable drug packages to shipping cases and pallets is not required by the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) or the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) or the related Delegated Regulation (EUDR). But certain business processes in the EU under the FMD will be difficult to accomplish without it, and after November 2023, the operation of the supply chain in the US will not be efficient without it (see “Aggregation: The Achilles’ Heel of Pharma Supply Chain Operation Under A Serialization Regulation”, “EU FMD: Aggregation Is Not Mandated, But It Will Be Necessary” and “Pharma Aggregation: How Companies Are Achieving Perfection Today”). Absent a mandate, companies need to recognize, themselves, just how vital aggregation is to their businesses and prepare to generate it and/or make use of it.Continue reading An Aggregation ‘Discussion’
For companies in the US pharma supply chain, 2019 is going to be the year of an important milestone of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). In November, wholesale distributors will be required to begin issuing verification requests to manufacturers, at the Standardized Numerical Identifier (SNI) level, for any returned drug that is still saleable, before they resell it. I’ve written a lot about this change in the past.Continue reading GS1’s Messaging Standard For Verification Of Product Identifiers
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
After November 27, 2017 the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) requires drug manufacturers (2018 for repackagers) to affix a DSCSA “product identifier” to all drug packages entering the supply chain (see “The DSCSA Product Identifier On Drug Packages”). According to the DSCSA, that product identifier must be present in both human-readable and 2D Data Matrix barcode forms. Part of that product identifier is what is known as a Standardized Numerical Identifier (SNI). The SNI is composed of the drug’s National Drug Code (NDC) and a serial number (see “DSCSA ‘Serial Numbers’”) that is unique on every individual package of that drug (see “FDA Aligns with GS1 SGTIN For SNDC” and “Anatomy Of An FDA SNI”).
Lately, I’ve heard people in the industry claim that it is acceptable to use a GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) that encapsulates an NDC (see “Depicting An NDC Within A GTIN”) to satisfy the NDC part of this DSCSA requirement to affix the product identifier on a drug package. I’m not so sure about that. Let me explain. Continue reading Is A GS1 GTIN Really Usable As An NDC For DSCSA Compliance? Part 1
Almost everyone agrees that GS1’s Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard will be used by drug manufacturers and the large wholesale distributors in the United States for compliance with the serialization requirement of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). Even I think that (see “Will EPCIS Event Exchange Replace EDI ASNs for DSCSA Someday?”). But there is a problem that could kill its use beyond the internal uses of today, keeping it from being used for data exchange or the data repositories that will eventually become the way data is “exchanged” in 2023 as part of the Enhanced Drug Distribution Security (EDDS) phase of the DSCSA.
The problem is, EPCIS defaults to the use of a single location identifier, the GS1 Global Location Number (GLN). So what? Why is that a problem? Let me explain. Continue reading GLN: The Lowly Identifier That Could Kill The Use Of EPCIS For Pharma Regulatory Compliance
I was initially disappointed in the FDA Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) Pilots Workshop that was held at FDA headquarters last week, but in the end, the outcome appeared to fit the need. Going in, I knew not to expect the FDA to convey any information to the attendees, so that is not why I was disappointed. I attended the public DSCSA workshop they held back in May of 2014 so I already knew their typical approach for workshops like these (see “The 2014 FDA DSCSA Workshop”). I knew that the purpose of the workshop was to inform the FDA, not to inform the attendees. I would estimate that about one out of every four attendees were expecting the opposite, and I would bet a significant percentage of those had not even read the DSCSA once. But that’s not why I was disappointed.
I was initially disappointed because Continue reading The 2016 FDA Pilots Workshop