The pharmaceutical sector, due to its importance in human health, is subject to rigorous global regulations. Pharmaceutical traceability, commonly known in the industry as pharma traceability, is employed to monitor the movement of pharmaceutical products within the supply chain.
Healthcare packaging is a pivotal component of pharma traceability as it encompasses the physical vessel containing medication, offering details on its identity, origin, and destination. Healthcare packaging facilitates medication tracking across all supply chain phases, from manufacturing through distribution to dispensing. Incorporating traceability technologies into healthcare packaging aids in safeguarding patients against counterfeit and substandard drugs.
Various technologies can be employed to implement pharma traceability in healthcare packaging:
- Serialization: This involves assigning unique identification numbers to individual medication units, enabling tracking throughout the supply chain. Serialization is a mandatory requirement for many prescription drugs under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).
- RFID Technology: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, attached to healthcare packaging, can be read by RFID readers to track medication in real time. Although costlier than barcodes, RFID tags offer advantages like non-line-of-sight reading.
- Barcoding Solutions: Barcodes provide a cost-effective means to identify and trace medications at different supply chain stages.
- Blockchain: A secure digital ledger, blockchain records pharmaceutical product data, facilitating tracking and authentication throughout the supply chain.
Benefits of pharma traceability include:
- Enhanced safety by identifying and removing counterfeit and substandard medications.
- Improved security by tracking medications to deter theft and diversion.
- Enhanced efficiency, reducing costs and lead times.
- Enhanced compliance with regulations, protecting companies from penalties.
Pharma traceability will become increasingly vital as the pharmaceutical industry evolves. Incorporating traceability technologies into healthcare packaging is crucial for ensuring medication safety and security.
The future of pharma traceability looks promising, with evolving technologies meeting the pharmaceutical industry’s needs, and ensuring patients’ access to safe and effective medications.