Last week the FDA published a notice of a public hearing and request for comments regarding the impact of any future changes made to the length and format of the National Drug Code (NDC). The current format of the NDC has been around since the early 1970s (see “Anatomy Of The National Drug Code”). It has served the FDA, healthcare professionals and patients well since that time, but it is showing its age. I call its affliction, “Identifier Failure” and I point out all of the symptoms for the aging NDC system in my essay “NDC Nearing Its End, Afflicted by ‘Identifier Failure’”.
The Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) was constructed back in 2013 by Congressional staff, with input from the FDA, members of the industry and who knows who else. There was one bill in the House of Representatives and a different bill in the Senate. Once these bills passed their respective houses, they formed a conference committee who merged the two bills into the final text that we know today as the DQSA (see “It’s Official, President Obama Signs H.R. 3204, DQSA, Into Law”). Chapter 2 of that act is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). Most readers of RxTrace haven’t forgotten that history but it is important to look back at that history to explain why most companies can ignore certain requirements in the law. That’s right. There are requirements in the law that you can ignore because they will not be enforced by anyone. They are the result of the disjoint way the DQSA was written. Let me explain. Continue reading 3 DSCSA Requirements You Can Totally Ignore→
RxTrace readers are already well aware that multiple new laws around the world will require prescription drug manufacturers to put a new 2D barcode on their products in the next few years. But what if your drug package is too small to fit the new mandated 2D barcode and human readable information on the label? Let’s take a look at what the regulations say in the E.U., Brazil and the United States. From that, we can come up with some strategies. Continue reading Is Your Drug Too Small For The Mandated 2D Barcode?→
A “product grouping” is any collection of saleable units of products that are bound together in some way. They can be “bundles”, homogeneous or non-homogeneous cases, totes, pallets or something like these. The pharma serialization regulations in some markets call out some of these groupings for special treatment, and some do not. I’ll try to catalog what we know about product groupings in each of the current, known regulations. Continue reading Serializing Product Groupings Under Global Regulations→
Heart Failure is a human condition that is characterized by several easily identifiable symptoms, including fatigue, difficulty breathing and in its later stages, gurgled breathing. My mother and my mother-in-law both suffered from heart failure during their decline. Analogous to heart failure in humans is a condition of an identifier system that is near the end of its useful life that we can call “identifier failure”. At the end of November, a new FDA final guidance called “Requirements for Foreign and Domestic Establishment Registration and Listing for Human Drugs, Including Drugs That Are Regulated Under a Biologics License Application, and Animal Drugs” went into effect. Buried deep within this 200+ page document is the official announcement that signaled the National Drug Code (NDC) identifier system is now afflicted with this end-stage condition. The NDC won’t last long now, and there is no longer any excuse for inaction. The need for a replacement is now urgent. Continue reading NDC Nearing Its End, Afflicted by ‘Identifier Failure’→
There is a long-running tug-of-war going on between GS1 and national governments around the world over how exactly to identify medical products, whether devices or pharmaceuticals. National governments regulate those products to maximize the health of their citizens and so they take a natural interest in how they are identified. They want to eliminate all ambiguity between products within their market. They need to be able to tightly grant market authorization, revoke it and oversee recalls when warranted. To do that effectively, they need a way of clearly and concisely referencing a given product. That same way of referencing the product should also be used for patient education and for healthcare professional prescribing. Bad things happen when mistakes are made in the identification of healthcare products.
DISCLAIMER: RxTrace contains some of the personal thoughts, ideas and opinions of Dirk Rodgers. The material contained in RxTrace is not legal advice. Dirk Rodgers is not a lawyer. The reader must make their own decisions about the accuracy of the opinions expressed in RxTrace. Readers are encouraged to consult their own legal counsel and trading partners before taking any actions based on information found in RxTrace. RxTrace is not a vehicle for communicating the positions of any company, organization or individual other than Dirk Rodgers.