A nationwide survey conducted in 2014-16 showed that around 3% medicines marketed in India were substandard, while around 0.023% were either spurious or counterfeit.
Patients will soon be able to check whether the pill or syrup they’ve bought is genuine with just an SMS or a WhatsApp message, as pharmaceutical companies are expected to print unique codes on their best-selling products in the next three months. The move is supposed to help weed out counterfeits of the top 300 drug brands from the Indian market.
The Drugs Technical Advisory Board approved a proposal for a “trace and track” mechanism during a meeting held on May 16. At the same time, this initiative is on a voluntary basis, according to DTAB.
According to the proposal, a 14-digit number will be printed on the labels of the top 300 pharmaceutical brands and these numbers will be unique to each strip and bottle sold in the market, the official explained. The labels will also come printed with a mobile number provided by the company marketing the brand.
Patients purchasing these medicines can message this 14-digit number to the contact number provided and will get details like the name and address of the manufacturer, the batch number, manufacturing and expiry date.
Several companies and major associations had been in discussion with the government over this initiative and have agreed to it. The 300 brands for this track-and-trace mechanism will be selected based on the market size.
Pharmaceutical companies are still awaiting clarity on how this mechanism will work and who will be responsible for creating the portal that allots the numbers.
Reference: The Economic Times