The U.S. government now requires every U.S. pharmaceutical brand owner to serialize their prescription products.
This regulation provides for a level of traceability and accountability of all primary packages (e.g. bottle, carton), and, in most cases, serial numbers are also placed on all cases and pallets of pharmaceutical products.
It’s not just the pharma industry that enjoys benefits of serialization—many other industries can benefit from serializing their products as well.
Serialization is the application of numeric or alphanumeric serial numbers on all primary packages either by printing directly onto the products or the application a serialized label.
For maximum benefit, serial numbers should also be placed on all cases and pallets so that packages at all levels can be monitored more efficiently.
The serial numbers for all three levels of packaging are linked to each other for maximum efficiency and utility.
These serial numbers are all stored in a secure database that is set up, updated and maintained by the company’s serialization provider.
The serial numbers are applied during the packaging process, and are sent to the brand owner’s database usually at the completion of each production lot.
This database is continuously updated and can be queried at a future date.
Serialization of each primary package, as well as the case and pallet, is done at the packaging facility, be it company-owned or at a contract packaging facility.
After the serial numbers are applied to each level of packaging, they are integrated together and passed to a site server and then to the level 5 database, located at the same packaging facility or at another location.
The serial number is kept on file and maintained in the database as long as there is potential and benefit from the number being checked.
Other industries can benefit from serialization of its products such as luxury goods, sporting goods, wine and liquor, tobacco products and more.
A barcode on a consumer product, for example, can be used to identify suspect products in the case of a recall, or a serial number on a package can be used by a customer to verify that the product is authentic or to provide access for important product information or promotion opportunity.
Location of product shipped can be monitored to determine time in shipment and to verify that product has reached various destinations.
Distributors and wholesalers who have agreements with the brand owner can easily verify that packages found at retailers in their authorized regions have been properly processed at their sites.
Supply chains can be monitored to check on inventory levels and timing of shipments.
Tobacco products can be serialized to provide for a more secure method of verification by a state inspector that proper sales tax has been collected appropriately.
In summary, brand owners can enhance their products by making their customers aware of the advantages that they are providing through the use of serialization.