Some of India’s top medicine brands, which include common ones such as Calpol, Allegra and Gelusil, will need to have QR or bar codes from August 2023.

In all, 300 brands covering segments such as pain-killers, contraceptives, vitamins, blood-sugar and hypertension medicines, are included in the list.

According to an order issued by the Centre on November 17, under the new Drugs Rules or Drugs (Eighth Amendment) Rules, mentioning the bar codes of QR codes on the packaging will be mandatory from August 1, 2023. The move has been initiated to help verify if the drugs are fake or not.

“The manufacturers of drug formulation products as specified in Schedule H2 shall print or affix Bar Code or Quick Response Code on its primary package label, on secondary package label that store data and information legible with software application to facilitate authentication,” said Union Health Ministry notification.

Some of the other prominent brands that have been included in the list are: Volini, Stamlo, T-Bact ointments, Montair and Fabiflu. Sources said the brands – considered to be high-selling ones – were selected based on their moving annual turnover (MAT).

The information to be provided include unique product identification code, proper and generic name of the drug, brand name, name and address of the manufacturer, batch number, date of manufacturing, expiry date and manufacturing license number.

Similar practices (of having bar codes) are followed in some of the western nations that include UK, the USA and others.