Veterinary products could soon feature quick response barcodes, enabling manufacturers to cut down on labelling and allowing users to access more product information online.
Veterinary products could soon feature quick response (QR) barcodes, enabling manufacturers to cut down on labelling and allowing users to access more product information online.
The topic of QR codes was discussed at the 2013 joint European Medicines Agency (EMA)/International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) Info Day, which took place in London’s Canary Wharf on March 7-8, 2013.
The black and white pictorials are now commonplace with a wide range of uses, from commercial tracking to printable ticketing verification and promotional links accessed by smartphone users.
EMA spokesman Emily Drury addressed delegates from across the EU animal health industry on opportunities to reduce packaging and labelling requirements of veterinary medicines.
She said: “In general there’s no objection to the principle of allowing QR codes – they could increase the amount of information available to the user but there is a discussion needed on who is responsible for reviewing and monitoring the information on the codes.
“We need to focus on what [information] is needed and where they should go on the labelling to ensure efficacious use.”
Ms Drury said her agency would investigate how QR codes could be adopted by the industry during the coming months.
One delegate questioned what internet pages veterinary medicine QR codes would link to and how the content of those pages would be policed.
Ms Drury replied: “The information in the QR code can go no further than the product information in the relevant marketing authorisation and it should not be promotional.”
She added there was ongoing discussion on the topic in the human medicine area, and the animal health industry could expect more clarification later in the year.
Meanwhile, IFAH technical director Rick Clayton questioned whether industry should also be pushing for the use of data matrix barcodes, a type of sister technology to QR codes viewed as less difficult to hack.
Ms Drury concluded: “The questions need to be asked – what are these codes and what are they leading to?”