TechNet-21 - Forum

This forum provides a place for members to ask questions, share experiences, coordinate activities, and discuss recent developments in immunization.

Discussions tagged Barcode

Solving immunization supply chain challenges with blockchain technology?

I am really interested in the potential benefits that blockchain technology could bring to immunization. There have been many discussions on vaccine packaging and barcoding as I can recall, and I was wondering if blockchain technology was mentioned (or even central now!) during those discussions, and also if some of you would have some stories to share about using this technology at all.  It seems from several sources, including the World Bank that blockchain technology can provide a cost-effectiev solution to many challenges encountered by government-led supply chains, such as maintaining vaccine quality throughout the supply chain or ensuring vaccine availability at service delivery points. In addition to that, by allowing to track vaccines from lab to patient, particularly where a network of various players in different geographies are involved, blockchain technology would then aid to prevent fraudulent products entering the supply chain and bring down the risk that ineffective counterfeited products represent for public health. That could be quite an interesting opportunity, especially since the WHO estimated that countries are spending about $30bn on counterfeit drugs, that cases of counterfeited yellow fever and MenA vaccines were reported and that WHO thinks most cases of fake medicines re likely to be unreported (see this article).  I'd love to hear from immunization on what their thoughts, hopes and possibly criticisms would be! Thanks all and have a great day!

Visibility for Health Systems: Adoption of Global Data Standards (GS1)

Dear colleagues,  Please find attached from the Interagency Supply Chain Group.  Kind regards,  Hitesh  Coordinator for the Interagency Supply Chain Group (ISG)       Hitesh Hurkchand
Interagency Supply Chain Group
Hosted by the World Health Organization 
Mobile: +1.917.975.9743 [WhatsApp, Viber]
Skype: hitesh_h
New York, New York

Feasibility and Limitations of Vaccine Two-Dimensional Barcoding Using Mobile Devices

In case it's of interest.
Best
Patrick

Tanzania leading the way with barcodes on vaccine packaging

by Daniel Thornton, GAVI; Henry Mwanyika, PATH; Drew Meek, WHO; Ulrike Kreysa, GS1 A project in Tanzania is exploring how best to implement barcodes on vaccine packaging. By adding barcodes to the shipping containers and secondary packaging used to transport vaccines, project organizers hope to learn how barcode technology can improve supply chain management and vaccine safety in developing countries. Over the last 40 years, barcodes have transformed global supply chains in the packaged food and consumer products industries. Most supermarket chains around the world use barcode scanners at the checkout counter, and most smartphones can now scan barcodes. Barcodes make it easy to track the flow of goods from their point of origin to their final destination, to recall products that may pose a safety hazard, to detect counterfeit or fraudulent goods, and to link a product with information such as where it was made, where it has been, ingredient lists, and instruction manuals in multiple languages. The global immunization community has recently started to explore the potential of using barcodes in vaccine supply chains. In fact, some countries have already begun to establish and mandate their own barcode standards. But with developing-country immunization programs lacking the infrastructure required to scan and use barcode information, and without a global barcode standard to follow for vaccine products, the use of barcodes on vaccine products destined for developing countries is happening much more gradually. Electronic health information systems are becoming increasingly pervasive in developing countries, especially at the central warehouse level. This has reduced some of the barriers to the use of barcodes and at the same time made the need to establish global standards more pressing than ever. Such standards would make it much easier to correctly implement and interpret barcodes coming from different suppliers around the world. In March 2013, a working group of the Vaccine Presentation and Packaging Advisory Group (VPPAG) met in Brussels, Belgium, to identify the challenges and set out a long-term vision for the adoption of barcode technology in developing-country vaccine supply chains. The meeting was hosted by GS1, the nonprofit global supply chain standards organization, and was attended by representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), PATH, the GAVI Alliance, and several vaccine manufacturers. The group concluded that: -There are no longer any major obstacles to the introduction of barcodes on secondary packaging[sup]1[/sup] and packaging containing secondary packaging. -Adding barcodes with lot number and expiry date information to primary packaging (the vaccine vial or ampoule) poses a technical challenge that may take several years to overcome. -Overall agreement exists on standards for the type of information that should be included in barcodes, the type and format of barcode to use, and the levels of packaging on which it should be included. -Online databases need to be established where barcode information can be retrieved (for example, for a logistician to find out that the item he has just scanned is a box of 25 vials of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine that needs to be stored between 2°C to 8°C). An existing WHO vaccine product database can potentially be adapted to serve this purpose. -The planned project in Tanzania presents a great opportunity to evaluate the benefits of using barcodes on vaccine packaging. For the project in Tanzania, collaborating manufacturers will add barcodes to the shipping containers used to transport vaccines to Tanzania. Encoded in each barcode will be a serial shipping container code, an 18-digit number used to identify individual containers and provide dispatch information. In parallel to the shipment, an advanced shipping notice will be sent. Upon arrival, the barcodes will be scanned by logisticians to automatically generate key sections of the vaccine arrival report. Collaborating manufacturers will also add barcodes to secondary packaging to enable staff to keep track of vaccines as they move further down the supply chain from the national to the regional and then to the district level. Encoded in these barcodes will be the product’s global trade item number, as well as the lot number and expiry date of the vaccines contained in the secondary packaging. This will enable Tanzanian logisticians to keep better track of vaccine stock movements. Because the benefits of barcodes to vaccine supply chains is becoming increasingly evident, and interest among developing-country governments in barcodes continues to grow, it will be critical for vaccine products with barcodes to be ready in the public-sector supply chain. For this to happen, both global- and national-level decision-makers can take positive steps toward a future where barcodes are an essential component of vaccination programs. To learn more about the work of the VPPAG barcode working group, please contact Daniel Thornton (dthornton@gavialliance.org), Henry Mwanyika (hmwanyika@path.org), Drew Meek (meekd@who.int), or Ulrike Kreysa (ulrike.kreysa@gs1.org). To read more about the need for global barcode standards and the readiness of developing countries to introduce barcodes, please read the article “Is it time to start barcoding vaccine labels” in the July 2011 edition of the Op.ti.mize newsletter. [size=10]1. Secondary packaging includes the primary packaging (the vaccine vial or ampoule), the packet containing the vaccine vial, and any intermediate packaging.[/size]
Admin

2D Vaccine Barcode Pilot (CDC)

Cross-posted from the CDC website with thanks. In September 2011, CDC initiated a pilot project to test the implementation, using industry barcoding standards, of 2D barcodes on vaccine products. A 2D vaccine barcoding manufacturer's forum was conducted in January 2012 to inform manufacturers and other stakeholders about the pilot project and to identify challenges and potential solutions. Over 60 industry stakeholders attended, including representatives from vaccine manufacturing companies, retail pharmacies, standards organizations, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC. A report summarizing the forum is now available. There are three major components of this pilot: pilot implementation of 2D barcoded vaccines, development of barcodes for vaccine information statements (VIS), and development of technical assistance documents for pilot participants and future implementers. Pilot Implementation of 2D Barcoded Vaccines – The project will ensure implementation of 2D barcoding in one or more manufacturing settings and a sample of provider offices, with special emphasis on the interfaces between barcoded vaccines, EMRs, and IIS. The project has enlisted two vaccine manufacturers, 10 CDC 317 Immunization grantees, and approximately 220 immunizers as pilot participants. The immunizers include private providers, publically-funded health services, and one pharmacy. The manufacturer placed 2D barcodes containing product identifier, lot number, and expiration date onto specific vaccines. These barcoded vaccines were distributed to the participating providers. The providers will administer these barcoded vaccines, and then use scanners to read the 2D barcodes. The scanned data items will be input into the immunizer’s electronic record systems for each patient, and transmitted to or captured by the states' IIS. The purpose of this implementation pilot is to assess the extent of using 2D barcoded vaccines and scanners on the completeness and accuracy of vaccine data. The vaccine information will be tracked from manufacturer to immunizers to EHR to IIS. A subset of the participating immunizers will be selected to participate in a work flow analysis (WFA) and time and motion study in order to assess the impact of 2D scanners and barcoded vaccine products at administration and inventory. This phase will include process maps, time measurements and staff interviews. These will be collected both before and after the introduction of 2D capabilities within the provider site.

Is it time to start barcoding vaccine labels?

by Drew Meek, WHO/QSS; Sheila Cattell, IFPMA; and Joanie Robertson, PATH In the packaged food and consumer products industries, barcodes have become a way of life. Most large supermarkets around the world use barcode scanners at the checkout counter, and an average smartphone can now scan barcodes. Barcodes make it easy to track the flow of goods from their point of origin to their final destination, to recall products that may pose a safety hazard, and to link a product with a great deal of information such as where it was made, where it has been, ingredient lists, and instruction manuals in multiple languages. Given the ubiquity and utility of barcodes, why are they not widely used on vaccines? In fact, barcodes are included on the labels of some vaccines sold in industrialized countries. Without information systems and hardware in developing-country immunization programs to scan and use barcode information and without a global barcode standard to follow for vaccine products, the application of barcodes on vaccine products destined for developing countries is happening much more gradually. The need for global barcode standards Global standards make it easier to correctly implement and interpret barcodes coming from any number of suppliers in different countries of origin. In the absence of global standards, the national regulatory agencies of individual countries are forced to manage multiple different standards on different products or to come up with their own standard which leads to barcode information that is not compatible with systems in other locations. [color=#999999][Click photo to enlarge] [/color] GS1 is a nonprofit entity leading the design and development of global standards for supply and demand chains, and their standard appears to be emerging as the leading global solution for product information. Their standard product numbering schema, called the Global Trade Item Number®, identifies the manufacturer and product. From there, depending on the type of barcode used, it is likely that vaccine lot numbers and/or expiry dates would be included in the barcode, and in higher-capacity barcodes perhaps other data as well. Most importantly, using a global standard identification barcode allows different countries and entities to link the product to a record in a product database containing all the information they need and ensures that the identification number will be unique. Obtaining global agreement on a standard for the type of information that should be included, the type and format of barcode to use (one dimensional versus two dimensional), and the levels of packaging on which it should be included is a difficult but critical hurdle to overcome before a really useful system of barcoding for vaccines can be adopted. Because most vaccines destined for low-income countries are prequalified by the World Health Organization and procured through the United Nations Children’s Fund, these organizations have a powerful role to play in proposing a global standard for barcodes on all public-sector vaccines. The Vaccine Presentation and Packaging Advisory Group of the World Health Organization has initiated a discussion around the concept of primary-label barcodes and is gathering information from regulatory agencies for guidance, including the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The additional complexity of placing a barcode on primary labels is the limited amount of available label space and the need for specific placement to compensate for vial curvature for some code formats. The goal is to contribute to the current global discussion on barcodes for vaccines and ensure that the anticipated needs of developing countries are considered alongside the needs of industrialized countries. Country readiness for barcodes Another major hurdle is the fact that most developing countries are not yet ready for barcodes on vaccines. Existing information management systems in most countries are not equipped to take full advantage of the added value and benefits of barcodes. Many countries are starting to build more sophisticated systems within their immunization programs as an increasing number of cost-effective software and hardware solutions are becoming available along with technical capability to support implementation and long-term management. In the short term, however, demand for vaccine barcodes in developing countries is still quite low. A handful of countries have begun to demonstrate the value of barcodes on vaccines. For example, Health Canada is in the process of adopting GS1 standards for vaccine product identification and recently recommended piloting a two-dimensional format with information on lot number and expiry dates on both primary and secondary packaging. This effort will make it possible for Health Canada to develop complete electronic health records, reduce immunization errors, improve inventory management and forecasting, and maintain more accurate immunization coverage rates. If a similar effort was successfully deployed in developing countries, barcodes could also help facilitate lot recalls, allowing the health system to identify specific children that were vaccinated with a particular lot and determine where leftover stock is sitting. Barcodes linked to a database could also be used to provide relevant information about the vaccine, proper administration, and safety warnings in local languages to users. All of this is possible with barcodes but only if the necessary systems and infrastructure are in place and functional enough to support proper use. Over the next decade, as more and more developing-country governments become interested and are ready to implement barcode tracking systems in their immunization systems, it will be critical for vaccine products with barcodes to be ready in the public-sector supply chain. For this to happen, both global- and national-level decision-makers can take positive steps toward a future where barcodes are an essential component of vaccination programs. We encourage your questions or comments. Please click reply at the bottom of the page.
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