I would be willing to bet that almost every regular reader of RxTrace knows who Bob Celeste is, and most of you have probably already heard that he is ending his long tenure with GS1 US. Last fall that organization announced that Bob would continue into the new year as a consultant, and shortly after that, he would transition his GS1 Healthcare US work group facilitation work to others. Bob reminded everyone on his weekly industry calls of that schedule about two weeks ago and by the end of this month he will no longer fill that role.
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.
From the quote in the first paragraph above you can see that the FDA intended the NDC to be Continue reading Anatomy Of The National Drug Code