Methods to Ensure EPCIS Drug Traceability Standards

Pharmaceutical Commerce | July 3, 2020 | Updated: July 28, 2020

By Gary Lerner, Gateway Checker Corp

Within the next 30 months, some US pharmaceutical wholesalers are planning to be traceability-ready in accordance with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). To some that might sound like plenty of time. To those of us with years of experience in the industry, it sounds more like a sprint to the finish line rather than a pleasant jog. Even now, the US drug supply network is struggling with electronic, interoperable traceability without alignment around a common set of application standards. A report from the Office of Inspector General of HHS, while evaluating the current status of DSCSA traceability, recommended that “FDA offer educational outreach to trading partners about required drug product tracing information and data standardization guidelines.” [1]

There is a broadly (but not universally) accepted standard for trading-data communication: the EPCIS standard of the GS1 organization. But to ensure that EPCIS is being effectively employed by pharma trading partners, and the software vendors serving them, a testing protocol has been developed and sanctioned by GS1. This article will explain its justification and application.

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