GSK to Add 2D Barcoding on Several U.S. Vaccines
By Mia Burns
In a step that supports electronic medical record keeping, GlaxoSmithKline will place two dimensional barcoding on both the inner containers and outer boxes of most of the company’s U.S. vaccines. A 2D barcode is a small square and compared to the current linear barcodes, can hold more information.
The additional capacity of 2D Data Matrix technology allows for product identification, expiration date, and lot number to be encoded on each vaccine product. When healthcare providers have the necessary hardware and software for this technology, they can update their inventory management system, patient records, and vaccination reports automatically. This reduces the need for manual entry of information, which can be susceptible to administrative errors and incomplete record keeping.
“GSK believes 2D barcoding is important because it is an initiative in response to customer needs,” says Dr. Leonard Friedland, VP, scientific affairs and public policy, GSK Vaccines, North America. “In addition, through the regular electronic scanning of the additional information contained in 2D barcoding, we believe that a more accurate and complete picture of U.S. vaccine usage could emerge.”
Dr. Friedland also told Med Ad News Daily, “GSK’s decision to implement 2D barcoding represents a commitment beyond the pilot initiative, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began in 2011 with support from key organizations, including the FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other manufacturers.”
The AAP championed discussions on the feasibility of 2D barcoding in 2009 and, as a primary advocate of 2D barcoding, the organization continues to work with stakeholders to create standards and provide office implementation guidance. GSK was one of two principal vaccine manufacturers to enlist in the pilot, the results of which are currently being analyzed.
“The No. 1 issue is the safety of the children,” Edward Zissman, MD, FAAP, co-chair of the AAP Vaccine Barcoding Project told Med Ad News Daily. “The second thing is for accuracy and efficiency in the pediatric office where immunizations in this country are mostly often given in private pediatric offices. Currently, the administrating medical assistant, or nurse, or physician has to write down the lot number or the expiration date the name of the product. By doing two dimensional bar coding, which is very well recognized in other industries, it will put all of that information immediately into a child’s electronic health record so there will be a significant increase in accuracy and efficiency.”
GSK has already piloted the 1440 EL.U. vial presentation of the hepatitis A vaccine Havrix with 2D barcoding and will phase in the additional vaccines with FDA-approved 2D barcoding, meeting globally recognized GS1 standards, from the third quarter of this year through the second quarter of 2014. The vaccines are Boostrix, Cervarix, Engerix-B, Fluarix, Fluarix Quadrivalent, Infanrix, Kinrix, Pediarix, and Twinrix.
“GSK sought FDA approval for all U.S.-licensed vaccines that are packaged in a GSK U.S. manufacturing facility,” Dr. Friedland told Med Ad News Daily. “This includes all but two of our vaccines approved for use in the U.S. At this point, this is a U.S.-only initiative.”
In addition, the company now has FDA approval to start shipping Fluarix Quadrivalent to CDC distribution centers and U.S. healthcare providers. This season is the first in which vaccines protecting against more three strains of influenza will become commercially available.
Posted: August 2013