Health Policy

European drugs to carry barcodes

Medicines sold across Europe will have to carry barcodes and other improved security mechanisms, under proposals unveiled by the European Commission to crack down on counterfeit drugs. The Commission says it aims to use technology to enable “total traceability” of all medicines bought in pharmacies or online. Even with the new measures, some repackaging will continue to allow the parallel trade in pharmaceutical products to continue. Gunter Verheugen, the EU industry commissioner responsible for the ‘pharmaceutical package’ said the measures were needed to address the growing problem of counterfeit drugs. He said over 2.5m drug packages were seized at the EU’s external borders last year, five times the number in 2005. Under the new proposals, products will have to employ mandatory safety measures such as seals and barcodes that only certified manufacturers will be able to use. The move was announced as part of a package of measures that would also allow drug manufacturers to promote information about their prescription-only products directly to EU citizens

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