India’s Union Health Ministry plans to create a digital platform to track and regulate sale of quality drugs in the country, according to a posting on Brand India Pharma*.
The aim of the initiative is to make the entire trade channel transparent. The “track and trace” mechanism which has been in existence to regulate the supply of quality medicines through the net is applicable for people in and outside India.
Bar coding on medicine packs is, however, done only for export consignments currently. The new move is of crucial importance as around 3% of drugs sold in India have been found to be of substandard quality as per a recent survey.
As per a notice by the Ministry, all drug manufacturers would need to register themselves on the portal, and enter specifications regarding sale with details of batch number, quantity supplied and expiry date. All stockists, wholesalers would also be required to register and provide details of stocks received and supplied further to distributors or retailers. Options would be available for entering the data either online or through mobile phones and pharmacies located in far off places will have the option to upload the data once every fifteen days. The notice further states that medicines can only be dispensed against a prescription of a registered medical practitioner, with the doctor’s registration number (MCI state medical council).
The government would finalize the guidelines under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 by April 15, 2017.
*Brand India Pharma is an initiative led by Pharmexcil (Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council) and IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation) under the aegis of the India’s Department of Commerce.