Bar code is India's choice of track/trace weapon

India is fighting to protect its image as a supplier of high quality drugs to the world. Beginning next month, bar codes will become a mandatory packaging element for drugs leaving the country.

Indian officials focused on developing a track/trace system after fake medicines labeled "Made in India" appeared in Africa. The fakes that appeared in Nigeria were traced to China, reports The Hindu Business Line.

The new bar-code requirement affects the outermost packaging used in drug shipping. Bar-coding on secondary packaging (cartons) and primary medicine strips and bottles is already in place.

Although the bar codes can aid tracking, the Indian implementation falls short of a true track/trace system. Some critics maintain medicines with manufacturer-applied bar codes have little value if the importing countries are not part of the system with both sides having access to the data, according to the article.

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