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Sale of counterfeit medicines will be banned, new QR code based system coming

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To tackle the problem of counterfeit medicines, the government is making a plan, under which you will be able to check the authenticity of the medicine by scanning a QR code. According to TOI news, the government is preparing to launch a ‘track and trace’ mechanism for best-selling drugs, which will check the use of counterfeit drugs. Let us know about it in detail.

According to the news, in the first phase, 300 best-selling drugs will print or paste a barcode or quick response (QR) code on their ‘primary’ packaging label. Primary means the first level of product packaging, which contains salable goods. These include sealed packaging such as bottles, cans, jars, and tubes. These 300 best-selling drugs are expected to include antibiotics, cardiac, pain-relieving pills, and anti-allergy, with an MRP of more than Rs 100 per strip.

track and trace mechanism

According to the report, the move was conceptualized a decade ago by the government but was put on hold due to a lack of preparedness in the domestic pharma industry. Even the “track and trace” mechanism for exports has been postponed till April next year.

The barcode or QR code on the package label of medicines can provide authentication through software. Once the software is implemented, 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 subsequently track the same via mobile phone or text message.

According to TOI news, several options are being studied including setting up a central database agency as a single barcode provider for the entire industry. It may take a few weeks to implement. According to the report, an industry player says that the introduction of the system will increase the cost by 3 to 4 percent and some companies have already started adding QR codes.

counterfeit drugs cases

Over the years, there have been several cases of counterfeit and substandard drugs in the market. Some of these have been confiscated by state drug regulators. The major cases that have come to light recently, have involved Abbott’s thyroid drug Thyronorm. The Telangana Drugs Authority had said that it did not fall under the quality standard, but the company stated that the drug tested was counterfeit and not manufactured or marketed by it.

In another example, a counterfeit drug racket of Glenmark’s blood pressure pill Telma-H was busted. According to the World Health Organization, about 10 percent of medical products in low- and middle-income countries are substandard or counterfeit, although they can be found in every region of the world.

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