Bahrain presses go on its track and trace plan for medicines

Bahrain’s medicines regulator has said that it intends to implement a ‘factory to patient’ track and trace system for medicines, and has selected local startup MVC Global as the provider for the project.

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) says it is pressing ahead with the roll-out of a system to prevent the distribution of falsified medicines that was covered by Resolution No. 41 of 2017, and originally envisaged an implementation date of December 31, 2019.

The resolution was short on detail, but specified the use of a 2D barcode on medicine packs that will include the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) of the drug, its expiry date, batch number, and a unique serial number.

It covers both locally-produced and imported medicines, as well as drugs manufactured abroad and packaged in manufacturing sites inside Bahrain.

The Bahrain News Agency (BNA) notes that MVC has been given the task of implementing and operating “a pharmaceutical supply chain tracking platform to ensure that all global pharmaceutical regulatory compliance requirements are met and provide the regulator with physical tracking of all products at every stage of the supply chain from original manufacturing to a point of sale within the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

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MVC is a subsidiary of technology company AVC Global, which lists traceability specialist rfXcel Corp, logistics company Cox Group and enterprise management system software player Kyriba as its strategic partners.

Earlier this year, MVC and Cox launched a ‘SmartHub’ logistics warehouse – driven by blockchain – saying it would improve the distribution of pharmaceuticals and food products across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

NHRA chief executive Dr Maryam Al-Jalahma said the implementation of the track-and-trace system will make Bahrain “a world leader in stopping the sale of counterfeit medicines and makes the pharmaceutical supply chain…safer.”

The system will be modelled on the European Medicines Verification System (EMVS) which went online around 18 months ago, and in which drug manufacturers collectively finance the system based on sales.

NHRA said it expects the implementation of the track and trace system to start at the beginning of 2021.

MVC says its platform allows products to be tracked in real time at every stage in the supply chain, monitors environmental conditions and handling, and allows verification of products based on serial numbers.

Image by onasama from Pixabay

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