The government of India has made it mandatory to bar-code mono cartons (primary packs) of drugs shipped out of the country from July 1 2015. Primary packaging includes ampoules, vials, bottles, cartridges and blister-packs.
This is to ensure that the reputation of the Indian pharma industry is not tarnished by medicines manufactured illicitly in other countries and passed off as Indian in origin. Indian pharma products have built up a strong reputation for high quality products at affordable prices and hence are targeted by counterfeiters. The Indian pharma industry exports goods worth US$ 15 billion per annum to more than 200 countries.
In 2009, consignments to African countries including Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana that were labelled as Made in India were finally traced back to another country.
Small and medium manufacturers are resisting the move terming it as impractical and expensive to implement.
However, larger manufacturers are in favour of the move, citing it as beneficial for the long-term interests of the industry. Many of them have voluntarily implemented this already.
Barcoding on secondary and tertiary packing (bulk packing used for warehousing and transport) has been mandatory since 2013.