When mistakes are made picking, packing and shipping products, the inconvenience to your customer is not the only consequence. When it comes to industries such as pharmaceutical distribution, these mistakes can put your customer’s safety at risk and increase the risk of product theft and tampering. Although there are many regulations put forth by the DEA, FDA and DSCSA to protect customers and the general public from these types of concerns, it still requires that your pharmaceutical distribution business take the necessary steps internally to ensure a secure supply chain. One option to better manage inventory is with the use of barcode scanning.
Barcode scanning allows you to track inventory as it moves through your warehouse - from receipt, to picking and packing. In its simplest form, barcodes exist to allow your business to track product movement internally and throughout the supply chain, however, in the pharmaceutical industry important information is also tracked via barcode. Unlike widgets, pharmaceutical products include various properties such as lot number, expiry date, dosage, product family, NDC#, GTIN, strength, schedule, limit and more. Recent regulations mandate that all pharmaceutical products have a 2D datamatrix barcode containing the following four data elements on each product’s smallest unit for sale.
- Lot Number
- Serial Number
- Expiry Date
This information can then be “parsed” using barcode scanners depending on the specific function being performed. With Blue Link’s pharmaceutical distribution software, the parsed information updates within the software’s database so that important information about each inventory item is easily accessible.
“Blue Link’s ability to populate the lot and expiry date by scanning pharma 2D barcodes is really great news for pharmaceutical distributors. It has huge implications for improving efficiency and reducing errors when receiving pharma products.”
– Michael Benedick, Pharmaceutical Software Expert
There are many benefits to barcode scanning in general, and even more so when managing potentially harmful product such as pharmaceutical inventory.
- By implementing barcode scanning within your warehouse operations, your processes are fully auditable and pharmaceutical products are traceable. This helps deter theft and reduce loss and liability.
- Blue Link’s scanning functionality prevents the need for manually keying in important information such as lot and lot expiry. This not only allows product to be received more quickly into your warehouse and inventory system, it also reduces data entry errors from having to do this manually.
- Pharmaceutical barcodes are also used for saleable returns verification (a DSCSA November 2019 requirement). This functionality allows employees to scan a product’s barcode and using “VRS” immediately check/verify the associated barcode to determine if it is safe to receive back into inventory for resale. Without verification of a product, the item cannot be resold.
Want to learn more about Pharmaceutical Distribution Software and compliance with DEA, FDA and DSCSA regulations? Visit Blue Link at this year’s HDA Traceability Seminar October 21-23 at the Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC.