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Global Track & Trace Forum commemorates its 10th anniversary
For people concerned with the integrity of the US pharma supply chain, 2009 was a dark year. It was the first year after California postponed its “e-pedigree” legislation from implementation in that year to 2015, with the proviso that if a federal law came into place before then, the federal law would supersede the state’s effort. (Which happened, in 2013, with the passage of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act [DSCSA].) While other states had their own pieces of legislation (and while the European Union worked fitfully toward what ultimately became the 2013 Falsified Medicines Directive), California was the bellwether.
So, in retrospect, it was a bold step to start a conference dedicated to advancing the theme of securing the pharmaceutical supply chain. But that is what Excellis Health Solutions, a then-new consulting organization, opted to do. “We knew that serialization would be required for patient safety in some fashion going forward,” says Greg Cathcart, CEO of Excellis, “and we wanted to be involved in that. That first GTT meeting had eight attendees, and this year, we had nearly 200.” In addition, Excellis has sponsored seven other meetings this year, in Europe, Russia and the US; total attendance was over 2,000.
At that 10th annual GTT meeting (Lambertville, NJ, Nov. 13-14), participants assessed where the industry is, and where it is going. While there has been substantial progress to a full implementation of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act in 2023—and comparable efforts in 40-50 other countries around the world, there is a long march ahead. The GTT meeting featured a “Serialization 2.0” session, in which Cathcart and various panelists sketched out next steps. These include addressing:
“DSCSA compliance is costly, but there’s a ton of value to be had when it’s done right,” concludes Cathcart. “We’re encouraged that the conversations at our meetings are including the rest of the supply chain—pharmacies and hospital systems, even insurance companies. DSCSA is proving to be broader than the original intention of securing the supply chain.”