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DCGI’s expert panel instructed to introduce barcoding of habit-forming drugs

The Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC), an expert panel of the DCGI, was informed of the decision taken during an inter-ministerial committee meeting on the introduction of QR codes last month.
Last Updated 05 September 2023, 14:37 IST

In a move to curb the misuse and illicit trade of drugs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is likely to introduce barcoding of around 11 habit-forming drugs, which include painkillers, cough syrups, and sleeping pills. Once this measure is seen through, the drugs classified as narcotics will be made digitally traceable with the help of bar codes/QR codes thus enabling the authorities to monitor their manufacture and purchase.

According to a report in the Mint, the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC), an expert panel of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), was informed of the decision taken during an inter-ministerial committee meeting on the introduction of bar codes/QR codes last month.

Codeine-based cough syrups, fentanyl and its analogues, buprenorphine injections, tramadol, alprazolam, nitrazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, clonazepam, zolpidem and ketamine are the 11 drugs mentioned in the list.

The government has expressed its concern over the misuse of these drugs by pointing out the unauthorised supplies of raw materials to the chemical industry on several occasions.

An official familiar with the matter was quoted as saying that the 11 drugs listed fall under the category of habit-forming drugs and that these drugs are being misused heavily, circulated across a wider network, and supplied to chemical industry illegally. “So it is important to keep surveillance on the sale and purchase of these drugs,” the official was quoted as saying.

The process of adding bar codes to the drugs will help in gaining access to an array of information including unique product identification codes, types of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), brand name, manufacturer details, batch number and size, and date of manufacture and expiry.

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(Published 05 September 2023, 14:37 IST)

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