The Government has extended by one more year till July 2014 the deadline for pharmaceutical companies to affix barcodes on primary level packaging.

A barcode helps in tracking and tracing the origin of drugs, which in turn helps in minimising the chance of genuine drugs being considered spurious, sub-standard or counterfeit.

“Earlier, the requirement of affixing barcodes on primary level packaging was to take effect from July 1, 2013. Now this date has been deferred to July 1, 2014,” the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a public notice.

Primary level packaging is the first-level product packaging such as the bottle, can, jar, tube, that contains the item sold.

The Government had asked pharmaceutical companies to build track-and-trace capabilities for their exported medicines using barcode technology at three levels of packaging — primary, secondary and tertiary.

India exports over $10 billion worth of drugs annually.

Industry experts say the only way Indian pharma firms can tap the global market is by ensuring quality, and barcoding would help ensure that.

(This article was published on April 8, 2013)
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