INVENTORY CONTROL IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

Any warehouse management system starts with good identification system of the items in arriving the receiption area from the  supply chain,and the rest  is a matter of tailerd computer system .But what if the medical industry does not have a unique Barcode?

In the grocery and the super markets they introduced bar-coding in the early 1970 and now they have perfect “Auto-ID,  .The system is working perfectly thanks to the uniqueness of the coding system and it's  universally accepted format.Now the  market is floaded with Warehouse Management System with special  hardware,

The medical industry is new to bar-coding , and do not have a international unique codes or barcodes, consequently, the warehouses are  severly affected  by the absence of  unique international  bar- code,and are deprived  from the  new technologies

 The  Drug manufacturers are diffrent, they have  their own tailered management system, to store their  raw materials, and final products,

In the Drug warehouses, where, they receive, pallets, cartons, drums, boxes, bottles, the situation is serious without coding system, and the cost of monitoring is too high

Although there are many automated ways to capture and enter data other than barcodes , like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), magnetic stripes, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), smart cards, and voice recognition …etc but still the medical industry, must have a unique code to identify the item, regardless of data entry. This doe not exist until now

,

 

 In USA,The Drug products are identified by , three-segment number, Each drug product is assigned a unique 10-digit, 3-segment number. This number, known as the NDC National Drug Code , identifies the labeler(manufacturer), product, and trade package size. The first segment, the labeler code, is assigned by the FDA, the rest by the manufacturer a linear barcode is used to store this information on the pack. But in the Medical Industry, is very important to know the expiry and the batch number for the stored item. So a lot of manual  data entry is needed  before storage.. or E-pedigree system

 

 

Although it is great injustice to treat medicine in the same way as a grocery item ,but still in USA this grocery type was chosen rather hastily without assessing the negative consequences on the world health coding system, and without any consideration to what the code should contain ( manufacturer name, or generic name…etc) . However, in 2010 , FDA issued a new coding guidelines , still have left many questions unanswered

The solution to the Global bar-coding  in the medical industry is in the pipeline and on its way to be solved in the future  , therefore until  we get a unique global coding system .we have to let the computer to do a little of  number crunching in the warehouse

There are many Warehouse Management System (WMS) . They are designed for a situation where all items have a unique global code
Pharmaceutical warehousing (PWMS) is not special WMS. It is totally different .In WMS everywhere is stock area, and everything must be somewhere, in PWMS ,You have to comply With GDP (GOOD Distribution  Practice) and expired items must be sent to waste disposition, and not to the middle of the supermarket to be sold at half price

With todays modern technology… the  barcoding is not that critical  all together in the Pharamceutical warehouses… we have outstanding  tools ranging from , RFID, sensors, printed electronic displays... few were ready for commericial use .. but today .. the costs are very acceptable indeed.By 2017 Smart packaging will dominate the Pharmaceutical Industry