Time Running Out for European Pharma Labeling Compliance

by Guenther Martin, on February 19, 2018

Barcodes remain an essential tool in pharmaceuticals.
Barcodes remain an essential tool in pharmaceuticals.

The need for accurate pharmaceutical tracking, enabled by barcode labels, is clear due to the potential consequences if data is insufficiently traceable. Quality problems with pharma products or supply chain infiltration by counterfeits demands a quick and effective way to tell which items are safe. Standardization will make such a goal reachable, and therefore bodies around the world are working with drug manufacturers to implement wide-ranging standards.

European Deadline Approaches
Companies active in Europe have a compliance deadline in the near future for one such regulation. According to Pharmaceutical Journal, there is roughly one year left until manufacturers must connect their products with the European Medicines Verification System to comply with the Falsified Medicines Directive. The exact deadline is Feb. 9, 2019. Fees to sign up for the system were recently increased, in an attempt to ramp up the urgency of making the connection well before the deadline.

Under the new regulations, barcode scanning and verification against a database will become an essential part of medicine sales. The European Medicines Verification Organization wants to ensure numerous pharma companies enter their unique information into the database early, to avoid a bottleneck of increased activity when the deadline is almost here.

A Demanding Industry
The European pharmaceutical industry has been through complex and tricky evolution over the past few years, as International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers President and CEO John Bournas explained for European Pharmaceutical Review. He mentioned the FMD as a major upcoming project in getting the industry into a more digitized and connected state and noted that the ISPE is helping with the standards.

Barcodes are the Key
While barcode labeling systems are rather simple and straightforward from a technological perspective, their importance in industries such as pharmaceutical manufacturing shouldn't be underestimated. The presence of barcodes in the new key legislation coming to Europe proves the point: These codes are the premier way to quickly verify essential data.