Pharmacode

 In Barcode Quality Training

Pharmacode, aka Pharmaceutical Binary Code or Laetus Code, is a unique barcode.  Pharmacode can be surprising and confusing to companies, most often printers, without previous experience with it. It can be an unusual looking barcode. One form of Pharmacode can be multicolored. Symbols can include bars in red, yellow and other colors in a single symbol. This contradicts conventional barcode rules well known to an experienced barcode printer.

Pharmacode is a 1D barcode used globally, mainly in drug manufacturing. Its purpose is to secure packaging. Unlike most other barcode types, Pharmacode is used in a closed loop environment. The numerical data encode in the symbol is not universally unique—there could be duplicate numbers appearing on different products in different drug manufacturers. Since pharma manufacturers do not share data, this is not a problem.

Virtually everything about Pharmacode is unique. One aspect of Pharmacode security is its high tolerance to printing errors. The range of possible encodations is limited—between 3 and 131070. Encoded data is binary, not decimal. Encoding is bars of two widths with only one space width. Pharmacode scanning is directional, from right to left. No human readables. Most unusual is its multi-color capability. Bars in various colors provides printing color control and security.

If important items in the package are printed in various colors, the Pharmacode can include those colors. This confirms that all essential component parts are in the package. Missing colors can signal printing errors and the libelous possibility of missing essential information. Multi-color Pharmacode symbols require special scanners: red light scanners cannot decode them. Printed in black on white, a red light scanner can be used. Pharmacode can also be invisible, using UV ink.

Drug packaging can be complicated. Packaging for a single product can involve many component parts. It is important that the right components go into the package, and that the product be inserted only in its correct package. For example, many pharmaceutical products come with a printed document containing use instructions, indications, side-effects and other essential information. A Pharmacode symbol confirms that the correct product is in the right combination of packaging with the right printed materials.

Pharmacode symbols appear on a flap that becomes less obvious on the assembled package. The flexible Pharmacode symbol can accommodate space limitations, with a miniature one-track configuration, or a two-track structure.

Pharmaceutical Binary Code or Pharmacode was developed my Laetus GMBH, a German company founded in 1974. Laetus is an industry leader in inline quality control. It was acquired by Danaher in 2015.

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