Code of conduct

by Jeremy Plimmer

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011


India adopts pharma track & trace coding in attempt to restore faith in exports

Concerns over the reputation of drug exports have led the Indian Director General of Foreign Trade, Anup K. Pujari to mandate a procedure for tracking and tracing all drugs being exported from the country. The mandate to implement the scheme of serialised bar-coding on all packaging comes into force on July 1st.

The Indian drug industry has been challenged by the rise of counterfeit drugs originating in the country and $8.5 billion business naturally attracts the predatory attention of illegal manufacturers and distributors.

A public notice issued in New Delhi on January 10th mandates manufacturers to place serialised 1D or 2D bar codes on primary and secondary packaging that conforms to the GS1 product identification code.

Whilst the objective is laudable the practicality of such a move is questionable since the industry will have little time in which to source the equipment and test the software required for such an intricate process.

It may be that the deadline will be extended once such practicalities are recognised and pressure from the industry is focussed back at the Directorate.

Other issues include clarification on how the data will be stored and accessed and how safe codes will be from copy attacks.

It should be recognised that track & trace is NOT authentication and any effective system designed to secure a drug pedigree through serialisation also requires some form of primary of forensic validation in order to provide robust protection.

The notice can be viewed at:

About Jeremy Plimmer

Jeremy Plimmer has 35 years of experience in the security related print and packaging industry working originally as sales development director for manufacturers of passports, high security print and labels and more recently as a consultant. He is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining, chairman of the West Midlands Packaging Society as well as vice chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society.

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About the foundation

The Product & Image Security Foundation is a non-profit making trade association which was originally formed under the name of Label & Tag Security International (LTSI) in the early 1990's.

Today it operates with more than 100 members in 27 countries and is the premier international forum for manufacturers, suppliers and users of labels, tags, packaging, identification systems, materials and systems for any form of product security, brand image protection or product traceability applications and technology.