In recent essays I have covered the “Anatomy of an NDC”, the “Anatomy of a GTIN” and the “Updated HDMA Bar Code Guidance: A Must Read“. Now let’s put them all together. Why would we need to do that? Because the U.S. FDA requires many Over-The-Counter (OTC) and all prescription drugs marketed in the United States to have their National Drug Code (NDC) presented in the form of a linear barcode on the package. Pure and simple. To do that in a way that your trading partners can understand—that is, to do it interoperably—you need to follow a standard. You have two realistic choices for standard approaches to this problem: HIBCC or GS1.
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.
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