We've seen a global push for label standardization in recent months. Take, for instance, our recent blog post describing China's efforts to implement label compliance guidelines for its tire industry.
A similar labeling initiative has taken root in India's pharmaceutical exporting industry, but delays continue to push back the date of implementation. On December 22, the country's Department of Commerce released a statement announcing new deadlines for label compliance guidelines on drug packaging.
The delay actually comes at the request of two industry groups – the Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industries (CIPI) and Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA), reports SecuringPharma. According to the source, these organizations asked the Madras High Court to push back the implementation date because it would be difficult for most organizations to meet the deadline.
The decision only applies to primary and secondary barcodes – not tertiary labels, which appear on shipping cartons. Those barcodes are apparently not as challenging to implement in time as the labels found on the actual products, pharmaceutical industry stakeholders claim.
As such, the previous deadline for primary barcode implementation has been pushed from July 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013. Similarly, secondary labeling was delayed from January 1, 2012 to July 1, 2012.
SecuringPharma reports the entire barcoding initiative – first announced in January 2011 – is designed to improve India's international reputation as a pharmaceutical exporter amid substandard and counterfeit labeling claims. It doesn't seem likely, at least from this corner, that international importers would take umbrage at the delayed implementation, mostly because there were concerns the regulatory burden might slow the supply chain anyway.
With the Department of Commerce's decision, it appears international markets can have the assurances that India is taking issues of label compliance and counterfeit labeling seriously, but also remain confident that such regulation won't slow down business.