Top 300 drug brands have QR codes on the label to ensure authenticity

The Union Government has introduced Quick Response (QR) codes to ensure the authenticity and traceability of 300 common drug brands, including painkillers, vitamins, diabetes and high blood pressure medicines, among others .

The Union Department of Health made amendments to the Medicines Rules of 1945 to implement this. In March, the ministry asked the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to shortlist 300 drug brands that could be included for the implementation of mandatory QR codes. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) identified the list of 300 drugs, which includes widely used drugs, such as pain relievers, contraceptives, vitamins, blood sugar and blood pressure medications.

Popular brands such as Dolo, Allegra, Asthalin, Augmentin, Saridon, Limcee, Calpol, Corex, Thyronorm, Unwanted 72 have been identified. These top-selling brands were shortlisted based on their Rolling Annual Revenue (MAT) value.

In the draft notice released on June 14, the ministry said formulant manufacturers will print or affix a barcode or QR code on the primary package label and on the package label. secondary that store data or information readable with a software application to facilitate authentication. .

The data or information stored will include the unique identification code of the product, the proper and generic name of the drug, the brand name, the name and address of the manufacturer, the batch number, the date of manufacture, the date of expiration and manufacturing license number.

Earlier this year, the Center said that active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) or bulk drugs manufactured or imported into India should bear a QR code on their label at each level, a package that stores readable data or information with a software application to facilitate monitoring.

“Some of the identified brands have very low retail prices. For example, some common painkillers, vitamins, and even diabetes medications like metformin. It would be an extra cost for the manufacturers to change the packaging and implement it. For smaller manufacturers, this can be a start-up challenge,” said an industry insider who did not wish to be named.

He, however, welcomed the move, saying popular brands are also the ones that are counterfeit and the move would help prevent the circulation of fake drugs.

According to an earlier estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 35% of fake drugs sold globally come from India.

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