The government has extended the deadline for one more year to affix barcodes on primary level packaging by pharmaceutical companies till July 2014.
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.
“Earlier the requirement of affixing barcodes on Primary Level packaging was to take effect from 01.07.2013. Now this date has been deferred to 01.07.2014,” Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a public notice.
Primary level packaging is the first-level product packaging such as the bottle, can, jar, tube, that contains the item sold.
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 that figure manifold in the next few years. There is a big market for generics in the developed world.
Industry experts say the only way Indian pharma firms can tap the market is by ensuring quality, and barcoding will help ensure that.