Drug Consultative Committee (DCC) in its last meeting on Febuary 15 -- has approved the proposal that for every strip of medicine available in India ought to have a 2D bar code and a unique randomly generated numeric code (UID).
This will have various repercussions:
Among many, i feel the biggest repercussion would be that this will make the cut strips retailing a problem. The onus now will be on patient (as it is).
This may make it more unaffordable for patients to buy the medicines in short trenches.
Also as a lot of antibiotics need to be changed keeping in mind the prognosis of patient, the cut strips act as a cost saving for these patients as the unsused cut strip is taken back by the retailer. This facility though not ideal acts as a boon for the lower segment of patients in terms of cost savings, and helps the retailers too to sell to others. Many times the policy of whole strip retail leaves the patient in a lot of problem as the leftover strip is wasted (as not taken back by retailer) as the doctor had to change the drug as per prognosis.
However even now the cut strips leads to a lot of labeling issues anc can be solved with this bar coding opportunity.
The guidelines also should make it mandatory to manufacture strips in strippable/indented cuts in portions of two or four to make the purchases affordable to general public at large, with still maintaining the UID/barcode/basic labeling.
Many drug manufactures are doing this for OTC drugs, but can actually do it for other generics too.
Dr Akash Rajpal
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