India moves partially on bar codes for exported drugs by July

India drug authorities plan to impose bar-code rules on single cartons of exported drugs beginning July 1, but have deferred requiring the tags on individual bottles or vials of the products.

The Commerce Department already had determined that requiring bar codes on exported drugs would help it monitor the movement of counterfeit and other suspect drugs to countries such as the United States, which already is sensitive about drug-manufacturing in India.

India health minister J.P. Nadda

India's health ministry also was considering similar bar-code requirements for domestic drug movement, also as part of an effort to improve the local industry's reputation. One benefit of bar-coding would be to show some drugs claiming to be made in India were not; instead, they were probably made in China.

Under the Commerce order, besides the package bar code, pharmas are to maintain evidence of the package contents' provenance filed with the government. An official the Economic Times did not name said the steps were in line with the highest global standards and would help clean the India industry's reputation.

The department said it was unable to find a feasible way to require bar-coding on primary packaging at the ampule, bottle or blister wraps, so it has put off adding that requirement.

The government encountered fierce resistance by small- and medium-size drugmakers who complained about the difficulty and cost of applying additional bar codes on single cartons.

- here's the story from the Economic Times