In an effort to give pharmaceutical companies more time to implement barcode data collection software, the Indian government recently pushed back its tracking deadline to July 2014. Previously, officials in the country ruled that all distributors in India must put a barcode on primary packaging - including jars, tubes and bottles - by last January, The Economic Times reported.
As the global pharmaceutical supply chain grows, India is trying to further cement its status as a central player in the industry. In particular, The Economic Times reported that the country is a major source of generic drugs in the world. However, in order for its industry to grow further, officials want to make sure manufacturers and suppliers in India are seen as legitimate by the rest of the world. By mandating the use of barcode data collection software, the Indian government wants to show the globe that its pharmaceutical supplies are safe and traceable. The nation's pharmaceutical sector is currently worth approximately $10 billion, but that figure may rise considerably over the next few years.
Using Barcode Data Collection Software to Stop Illegal Activity
One of the major reasons why India is providing pharmaceutical companies with more time to meet its barcode data collection software requirement is part of its effort to stamp out a growing counterfeit and illicit distribution center.
In the past, the illicit drug trade was dominated by substances such as cocaine and heroin, but prescription medicines are being abused in greater numbers. This has created a big business for those creating counterfeits and illegally distributing pharmaceuticals. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that approximately 16 million Americans 12 and older have taken a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose. Additionally, statistics from the World Health Organization show that an estimated 10 percent of global pharmaceutical supplies are counterfeit.
"With no country, no drug, no medical product immune from counterfeiting, a global effort is needed to combat this threat which puts the lives of millions of people at risk every single day," said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
As the twin problems of counterfeiting and illicit consumption become more prominent across the world, all countries involved need to take steps to address the issues and make the global supply chain more transparent. According to the WHO, much of this burden may now have to fall on developing nations. While regulations in places such as the United States, the European Union and Japan ensure that less than 1 percent of total prescription drug supplies are counterfeit, that figure rises to more than 30 percent in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In some of India's major cities, close to 20 percent of all drugs sold are fake, leading major pharmaceutical firms to lose up to 5 percent of their annual revenue.