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Barcoding for primary packaging of drugs put off; industry was opposed to it

New Delhi, May 23 (KNN)  The Government is reported to have taken a decision not to insist on barcoding of medicines meant for exports in so far as the primary packaging is concerned following resistance from the exporters on the issue of huge costs involved. The move will help SME exporters save costs and hassles.   

Earlier, the Commerce Ministry through the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had set a deadline of July-1 this year for barcoding of all types of packaging including the primary. However, the move did not go well with the industry since the space for printing the barcode would make the imprint unreadable.  If it was to be made legible, huge amount of funds should be invested in sophisticated technology and the industry was not ready to bear the cost.

The industry body Pharmexcil has said that while it was given an impression about doing away with the proposed barcoding, no decision has yet been conveyed in writing.

India exports drugs and medicines worth USD 15 billion a year with the MSME segment contributing a significant portion of it. However, several leading exporters of generics drugs have run into problems with some of the global regulators. According to the government and the industry the issue does not involve the quality but lack of documentation which keeps changing in different countries by their regulators.

The commerce ministry has now initiated moves to do orientation for the exporters holding workshops for the drug exporters involving officials of the US FDA. The workshops have already been held in four cities and eight more cities will be covered, according to senior commerce ministry officials.