U.S. FDA Provides New Guidance to Further Enhance the Security of Prescription Drugs in the U.S. Supply Chain

By Chantal Polsonetti

Category:
Company and Product News

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is finalizing two guidance documents and making available two draft guidance documents to help ensure that prescription drugs are identified and traced properly as they move through the supply chain. These guidance documents lay out the FDA’s recommendations for how to comply with applicable DSCSA requirements, including those for enhanced drug distribution security at the package level that go into effect in November 2023.

As part of the DSCSA, manufacturers and repackagers are required to put a product identifier on drug packages. This includes the product national drug code (NDC), serial number, lot number and expiration date on each package and homogenous case of product, in human- and machine-readable form. The machine-readable form is generally a two-dimensional data matrix barcode. Industry questions are clarified in the final guidance, Product Identifiers Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, Questions and Answers

Additionally, the final guidance Drug Supply Chain Security Act Implementation: Identification of Suspect Product and Notification is intended to aid certain trading partners in identifying a suspect product and specific scenarios that could significantly increase the risk of a suspect product entering the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain. The guidance also describes how trading partners should notify the FDA of illegitimate product and sets forth a process for terminating notifications of illegitimate product in consultation with the FDA. In addition, this guidance describes when manufacturers should notify the FDA of a high risk that a product is illegitimate. This guidance responds to comments from stakeholders to clarify certain points and finalizes the remaining draft portion of the otherwise final guidance for industry, Drug Supply Chain Security Act Implementation: Identification of Suspect Product and Notification issued in December 2016.

The revised draft guidance, Definitions of Suspect Product and Illegitimate Product for Verification Obligation under DSCSA, lays out the FDA’s current understanding of terms used to define “suspect” and “illegitimate” products. These include “counterfeit,” “diverted,” “stolen,” “fraudulent transaction” and “unfit for distribution.” In response to comments received from stakeholders, this draft guidance revises the March 2018 draft guidance.

The new draft guidance, Enhanced Drug Distribution Security at the Package Level under DSCSA, is intended to assist supply chain stakeholders, particularly trading partners, with requirements for enhanced drug distribution security at the package level that go into effect on November 27, 2023. This guidance provides recommendations on the system attributes necessary for enabling the secure tracing of product at the package level. 

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