Argentina says first phase of traceability scheme 'going well'

Paper chain with pillsThe first stage of Argentina's national medicine traceability initiative is proceeding in a "very satisfactory manner," according to National Administration of Drugs, Food and Technology (ANMAT) director Carlos Chiale.

The traceability scheme was mandated in April 2011 by Resolution 435/2011 in order to defend the medicines supply chain from fake, stolen, unlicensed and otherwise illegal products, with a subsequent update the following May putting in place a 12-month deadline for the system, based on the use of serial numbers on secondary packaging of critical medicines such as cancer and HIV drugs.

The first phase of the project began on December 15, according to an ANMAT press release, with a large number of stakeholders (manufacturers, distributors, logistics providers and pharmacies) taking part and more than a million medicine 'transactions' recorded under the scheme.

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ANMAT has been running a series of workshops as well as official visits to regional areas of Argentina in order to advise and assist stakeholders to come into compliance with the traceability requirements. So far, the provinces of Chubut, Cordoba, Jujuy, Mendoza, and Misiones have joined the programme.

A second phase will begin in the summer in which pharmacies and public hospitals will also accede to the system, completing the final links in the medicine supply chain. Patients will also be able to verify the serial numbers on their packs via ANMAT's web site.

Argentina's Health Minister Juan Manzur said the progress with the system means that the country is now one of the few around the world with a specific policy on medicines traceability.

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