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1/16/2003

Pfizer to Add Bar Coding to Unit Dose Hospital Products

Cheryl A. Thompson

A bar code containing a medication's National Drug Code number, expiration date, and lot number will be added this year to all of Pfizer Inc.'s hospital unit dose products, the company announced Wednesday.

In a letter mailed today to the head of Pfizer, ASHP Executive Vice President Henri R. Manasse Jr. commended the firm "for taking an important step toward ensuring that hospitalized patients are safer" by adding machine-readable coding to medications.

 

January 16, 2003

Hank McKinnell, Ph.D
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Pfizer Inc.
235 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

Dear Dr. McKinnell:

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter congratulating Pfizer for taking an important step toward ensuring that hospitalized patients are safer through the availability of machine-readable (bar) codes on unit-dose products.

The announcement that Pfizer will be making all products used in hospitals available in unit-dose packages with machine-readable codes containing the National Drug Code (NDC), lot number, and expiration date, was received with warm welcome and applause by ASHP members.

Machine-readable coding on unit-dose packages augments the scientifically proven safety-enhancing benefits of the unit-dose drug distribution system – the gold standard medication distribution and administration system for hospitals everywhere. Having all pharmaceutical products used in hospitals available from the manufacturer in unit-dose packages with machine-readable codes is foundational to a safe and effective hospital bedside scanning system.

Thank you for your leadership in taking this monumental step to help hospital and health-system pharmacists and other patient care providers improve medication-use systems and patient safety. We hope others in the pharmaceutical industry will follow your lead and do what is right for patients – make all drug products used in hospitals available in unit-dose packages containing NDC, lot number, and expiration date in human-readable and machine-readable form.

Please do not hesitate to contact ASHP if you have questions or would like to discuss how the pharmaceutical industry and health-system pharmacists can further collaborate to improve patient safety.

Sincerely,

 

Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D
Executive Vice President – Chief Executive Officer