New Delhi, August 1, 2023 – The Central government’s crucial decision to implement a mandatory bar code or quick response (QR) code on 300 drug brands to facilitate easy identification of medicines comes into effect today. The Government of India, through a gazette notification on November 17, 2020, had listed the names of 300 top brands of medicines in the country, mandating the inclusion of a bar code or QR code with essential details on their packaging.
Ensuring Authenticity and Information Accessibility
The move aims to provide convenience to buyers, enabling them to easily confirm the authenticity of medicines purchased from any of these 300 brands. By scanning the code, consumers can now access vital information such as the name, brand, date of expiry, manufacturing date, batch number, proper and generic name of the drug, as well as the name and address of the manufacturer. This initiative is expected to curb the growing business of counterfeit medicines in the country.
Strict Compliance and Consequences for Non-Adherence
The Drugs Control General of India (DCGI) has issued strict orders to pharmaceutical companies, emphasizing the need to comply with the instructions. Prominent drug brands such as Allegra, Shelcal, Calpol, Dolo, and Meftal, among others, are required to incorporate a bar code or QR code on their medicines to ensure adherence to the government’s directive. Failure to comply with these orders may lead to heavy fines for the drug companies.
Amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act
To enforce this significant step in combating counterfeit medicines, the Central Government amended the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. Pharmaceutical companies are now legally bound to imprint bar codes or QR codes on their product packaging, making it easier for consumers to identify genuine medicines.
The introduction of mandatory QR codes on medicines of 300 drug brands marks a significant milestone in ensuring medication authenticity and safety for consumers in India. The new system provides a reliable and accessible way to detect fake medicines and empowers buyers to make informed decisions about the medicines they purchase.
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