The pharmaceutical industry is making fast progress on the number of serialized products hitting store shelves and is showing big improvements in the scannability of those drugs.
That’s my takeaway from a recent visit the LSPediA team made to a warehouse run by one of our large wholesale distributors. At the end of January, we conducted an inventory review at another distributor’s warehouses, where we scanned everything on the shelf and found some disappointing results – less than a third of the pharma products were serialized and one third of those 2D barcodes failed to scan.
Now, just 10 weeks later, this latest warehouse visit shows a striking level of improvement.
Another impressive finding: Using just a pair of two-person teams and LSPediA’s latest RxChain® software and hardware, we were able to successfully scan 2,700 separate products – an entire warehouse full – in just two hours.
‘Zipping right through’
Think about it – that’s less than 3 seconds (2.67, to be exact) for one team member to grab the product off the shelf, find the 2D barcode, have the second team-member scan it, and put it back on the shelf. I think we can safely say that early fears expressed by some in the industry that serialization and verification would be exhausting, time-consuming chores requiring legions of employees have been safely put to rest.
“We found that with the right software and hardware, a two-person team can zip right through the warehouse to check everything on hand,” said Robert Urben, LSPediA Solutions Engineer. “It’s a huge improvement.”
Specifically, here’s what the team discovered:
Serialized Products: Our second visit found that 42 percent of all products scanned were serialized with the required 2D barcode, up from 30 percent in January.
GS1 Compliance: In January, we found that 66 percent of products with a 2D barcode successfully scanned – with one out of every three products failing. That level has shown a drastic improvement on this visit: 78 percent of the barcodes successfully scanned, with just one out of every five showing an issue.
Barcode printing gets better
A big part of the reason for the increased level of serialized products being on hand is that the natural inventory turnover is reduced the amount of grandfathered product on hand for distributors. We’re likely to see this rate steadily increase as the older drugs continue to leave the supply chain.
Most satisfying to me was the fact that so many serialized products are successfully scanning. Part of this is an improvement in scanner hardware but the big change is that more manufacturers and packagers are raising the quality of barcode printing. In this visit, the print quality was so good that we were even able to scan barcodes printed on black surfaces.
All of this indicates that the industry is well on its way to meeting the Nov. 27 DSCSA deadline for all wholesale distributors to verify saleable returns with the manufacturer – or lose access to the $11 billion annual market in selling returned drugs. With just seven months to go, successful solutions and processes are available and working for any company still scrambling to meet the deadline.
Even more encouraging is that with serialization successfully implemented and improving week after week, the stage is set for end-to-end verification and meeting 2023 DSCSA deadline for interoperable electronic tracing off all pharmaceuticals. Trading partners now can turn their focus to the benefits that products such as LSPediA’s OneScan® Verification Router Service can provide.
If you’re still struggling with your product serialization – or ready to implement an effective VRS solution – give us a call. We see ourselves as advisors rather than salespeople, and partners rather than mere vendors, and we’ll be glad to demonstrate robust EPCIS system and OneScan® Verification Router Service. To learn more, sign up for our weekly newsletter or email [email protected].
About LSPediA – Life Sciences Solutions
LSPediA is a leading supply chain software provider for the pharmaceutical industry. LSPediA’s serialization solution RxChain enables pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesale distributors, dispensers to manage data, distribute products, and track inventory at the serialized level. LSPediA’s Verification Router Service enables authorized trading partners to authenticate serialized products, verify returns, and deter counterfeiting.
To learn more, please call (248) 973-2008, email [email protected] or visit www.lspedia.com.