Medicine Strips to Soon Have QR Codes to Detect Fake Drugs

 - Sakshi Post

New Delhi: In an effort to prevent the use of counterfeit and substandard medicines and ensure quality, the government may soon launch a ‘track and trace’ mechanism. 

Of late, there have been several reports of counterfeit drugs in the market. Recently, Baddi unit was caught manufacturing spurious drugs like blood pressure pill Telma-H in the name of Glenmark Pharma in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. In another instance, the Telangana government said Abbot's Thyronorm was ‘not of standard quality.’

Under the ‘track and trace’ mechanism, the drugs/medicines will come with barcodes or quick response (QR) codes on their ‘primary’ packaging labels. These QR codes will help the customers to know if the tablets they are taking are safe and not spurious. Primary packaging labels are the first-level packaging like the bottle, can, jar, tube or strip.

In the first phase, 300 top selling drugs like antibiotics, cardiac, pain-relief pills and anti-allergics costing over Rs 100 per strip may come with the QR codes. 

The idea was first mooted a decade ago, however, it could not be executed due to lack of preparedness in the domestic pharma industry. Even for exports, the track and trace mechanism has been deferred till April next year.

In June, the government asked pharma companies to affix barcodes or QR codes on their primary or secondary package label that store data or information legible with software applications to facilitate authentication. Once the software is in place, consumers will be able to check the genuineness of the medicine by feeding the unique ID code on a portal (website) developed by the ministry, and later track it even through a mobile phone or a text message.

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