Algeria have now formally announced their new serialisation regulation, the details of which are emerging and should be published shortly. The good news is that discussions with the authorities at local and international events have shown that the Algerian authorities are very open to improvement suggestions, so long as they can achieve their primary objectives, which have been stated as:
- Anti counterfeiting
- Reimbursement management.
As you would expect, to meet the first two requirements, the intention seems to be that product cartons will need to be serialised with GTIN, Lot, Expiry and a Serial Number in a GS1 compliant 2d data matrix. The timing for this requirement is currently being stated as 2019.
Unfortunately, the reimbursement requirement seems to be driving an additional requirement to add a sticker on the product carton including all of the carton information and the addition of the product price. The timing for this requirement is currently being stated as the end of 2018.
Clearly, this sticker requirement does not conform to any other legislative requirements and creates a number of real and significant issues for manufacturers, including:
- Timing and location of application of the sticker to ensure the price is correct.
- Technical ability to create a serialised label with the same critical information on it as is on the carton, namely product code, lot and expiry date.
- The significant risk that the wrong stickers will get applied to the wrong product.
The Algerian Social Security agency have stated that they do not have a database to help them manage reimbursement at present. Therefore, it is somewhat understandable why they are requesting these stickers in the short term. In discussions, they have been adamant that the sticker requirement needs to stay. This is clearly not good news for manufacturers.
However, in the medium to long term, it seems clear that database solutions will be implemented to support efficient and effective operations in local reimbursement management. This would almost certainly render the stickers redundant. It therefore seems very wasteful to enforce their implementation as a temporary measure, knowing the issues and risks they will create. There are surely simpler, lower risk solutions that could be considered.
To help influence the Algerian authorities, please contact your local Algerian representatives, or alternatively, contact GS1 who are also working hard with their members to influence the eventual detailed requirements to help meet all stakeholders’ requirements.
Should you have any questions about this or any other of my blogs, or would simply like to request a copy of my booklets, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Stephen.McIndoe@be4ward.com.
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