UCB taps Kezzler to protect medicines sold in India

Indian flag, hand and tabletsKezzler will provide serialised labels for UCB medicines destined for sale within India, expanding the collaboration between the two companies.

The Belgian pharmaceutical company has been working with Kezzler for several years, with the brand protection specialist providing serialised codes that can be used to authenticate UCB medicines using a text message.

The labels were originally used only for products destined for export from India, but the expanded agreement means Kezzler's serialisation technology will also be applied for UCB products sold in the domestic market. It is due to get underway in the first quarter of 2015.

India introduced a requirement for serialising secondary level packaging for exported medicines on January 1 2013, and had extended that to include the primary packaging of exported pharmaceutical products in July, although this deadline has since been deferred.

The law requires secondary level packaging for exports to carry a barcode (1D or 2D) encoding unique product identification code (GTIN), batch number, expiry date and a unique serial number, although drugs destined for domestic sale are exempt.

Manufacturers who are already exporting to countries with a specific serialisation mandate already in place will be exempt from following the serialisation guidelines to avoid duplication of effort.

Despite the lack of a mandate, a number of companies have elected to add serialisation and authentication to medicinal products sold in India to empower consumers and help them ensure the drugs they purchase are genuine.

"UCB was among the first companies to use the Kezzler technology, which allows consumers to instantly verify after purchase whether the medicine is genuine, within the valid expiry period, and not subject to a recall notice," said Kezzler in a statement.

The head of the company's Indian business operations - Avi Chaudhuri - said: "UCB has been a leader in taking proactive steps to protect their consumers [and] we now look forward to a much larger programme as we expand our operational activities."

India's regulations for exported medicines will also require manufacturers to maintain a database of the serialised products for a minimum period of six months after the expiry of the product. Work is also reported to be ongoing on the development of a reporting system for drugs exported from India.

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