Sunday, July 21, 2024

Drugmakers get more time to join ‘Track and Trace system’ for exports

Drugmakers have got another extension, this time up to August 1, to help implement the Track and Trace system for export of pharmaceuticals consignments.

On the cards for at least eight years, the system was mooted as a measure to address counterfeit and product recall challenges. The latest extension, from the earlier March 31 deadline, came in the backdrop of pharma exporters’ body Pharmexcil’s representation to the Commerce Department citing members’ difficulties in joining the system.

“The date for implementation of Track and Trace system for export of drug formulations with respect to maintaining the parent-child relationship in packaging levels and its uploading on central portal has been extended upto 1.08.2023 for both SSI and non SSI manufactured drugs,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a recent notification.

Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) Director General Ravi Udaya Bhaskar ruled out the likelihood of any further delay in the system’s roll out. “We have already paid C-DAC who is working on this [project], thus no further postponement will be there,” he said, highlighting how product traceability was a part of good manufacturing practices.

All manufacturing data is based on traceability and the barcode, under the system, on the packaging can help identify the source as well as serve to prevent sabotage. Asserting that the Track and Trace system is the need of the hour, he said the extensions had been necessitated on account of other issues facing the industry, including those triggered by the pandemic. As a facilitation measure, the Centre had made available a ₹25 lakh grant, for the barcode machinery, to SSI units.

Initially, secondary and tertiary packing will get covered under the system, the primary packing will be included at a later stage, Mr. Bhaskar added.

India’s pharmaceutical exports for the first 11 months of FY23, rose more than 3% to $22.90 billion amid challenges, including a rise in raw material prices. The exports are estimated to have ended the fiscal at about $25 billion, better than the previous year but missing the $27 billion target.

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