The QR code on medicinal products packaging

packaging QR code medicine

The pharmaceutical sector is moving quickly to make medical products safer and more readily accessible to patients with the latest technical innovations helping in accellerating this process.

Since December 10th, 2008, the European Commission adopted three legislative proposals with the purpose of ensuring that European citizens have access to safe, innovative and accessible medicines:

The first legislative proposal aims to ensure that EU citizens have access to reliable information on all available medicines, their authorization process and control so they can take more informed decisions about their health.

The second legislative proposal aims at better protecting patients by strengthening the EU pharmacovigilance system. This means continuous monitoring of medicines on the market to ensure any risk is reported and products can be quickly withdrawn; monitoring of reported adverse reactions; simplifying the current system with the overall objectives of better protecting public health.

The third legislative proposal aims at strengthening EU legislation to better protect EU citizens from the serious threats posed by falsified medicines by introducing a global standardised identification system.

The inclusion of the QR Codes on pharmaceutical packaging is considered favourably by EU regulators as it facilitates the digital communication between manufacturers and patients and could further improve the authentication based on 2D data matrix codes as specified in the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD).

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a Guidelines document in 2015 describing possible implementations of QR-codes based solutions on medicines packing. QR codes are not yet mandatory but inclusion is certainly seen favourably by EMA and National Agencies and a simple declaration in the marketing authorization application is usually enough to get those authorized.

QR code can lead to information about approval, statutory, and risk minimization material such as education material. However, the QR code and the digital leaflet cannot replace the paper leaflet that must still be available in the package for most products.

We can say without a doubt that QR codes are the best way to give an easy access to pharmaceutical products information for patients and healthcare professionals.

The latest QR Code Snapshot for 2017 by shows on a world-wide scale that USA, UK, China, Australia and Canada are still the top 5 in terms of total numbers of QR scan events. Within Europe the UK leads the ranking.

On a global basis the split for iOS devices was 37.2% for iPhones and 23.0% for iPads, while for Android based devices were 30.7% for smartphones and 2.6% for tablets.

The main purposes for scanning are:

  • Linking to a website - 68.8%
  • Downloading an App - 14.5%
  • Getting plain text information - 5.0%
  • Downloading a YouTube video - 2.9%
  • Accessing a Facebook page - 2.3%.

This is just a small view of the overall data available for this technilogy but it clearly shows a great potential for this technology for Pharma industries and marketers.

If you’re thinking to move to QR code technology to improve and increase your business get in touch with us, we’ll find the best solution for you Contact us

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