In a move to simplify barcode procedures for pharmaceutical companies, the government has decided to treat mono cartons containing medicines also as primary level packaging.

“Mono cartons containing strips/vials/bottles shall be treated as Primary level packaging,” Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has said in a public notice.

A barcode helps in tracking and tracing of origin of drugs, which in turn helps in minimising the chances of genuine drugs being considered spurious, sub-standard or counterfeit.

Primary level packaging is the first-level product packaging such as the bottle, can, jar, tube, that contains the saleable items.

The government had asked pharmaceutical companies to build track and trace capability for their exported medicines using barcode technology at three levels of packaging — primary, secondary and tertiary.

India exports over $10 billion worth of drugs annually.

The government wants to increase it manifold in the next few years, with an eye on the huge global generic market.

Industry experts say it is necessary for Indian pharma firms to ensure quality to tap the market and that barcoding will help in this regard.

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