Spectre vs James Bond and the Unique Product Identifier

bond_24_spectreThe latest James Bond movie is out. It is called Spectre. Spectre is the name of a criminal organization.

In the movie “Bond, James Bond” alias 007 and in this case Mickey Mouse sneaks into a Spectre meeting. At that meeting the Spectre folks reports how they maliciously earns money. One way is selling falsified medicine.

Of course Bond hits Spectre hard during the movie. And if Bond didn’t hit all the villains, data management will do so related to falsified medicine.

The method is using a unique product identifier.

Usually in master data management, we describe a product to the level of unique characteristics also called a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU). In the pharmaceutical world that will typically be a brand name, a concentration of active substances, a dosage type and pack size and possibly a destination country.

From the electronics and machinery sectors, we know the approach of assigning each physical instance of the product a serial number. The same approach is becoming mandatory for medicine in more and more countries. The pharmaceutical manufacturers will assign a unique number to every package (and sometimes also shipping boxes) and report those to the health care authorities around the world. At the point of delivery, it is checked that the identifier equals an original product instance.

The identifier is formed by a product identifier being a Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) or a National Drug Code (NDC) plus a randomly assigned serial number, making it hard to guess the serial number part.

4 thoughts on “Spectre vs James Bond and the Unique Product Identifier

  1. Jos Schreurs 31st October 2015 / 11:57

    Hi Henrik, Nice way to bridge 007 with the world of MDM..

  2. gino fortunato 2nd November 2015 / 21:46

    unless I missed the boat, this is going to require a lot more data collection at the pharmacy, as well as additional inventory management processes to not co-mingle otherwise identical product from different batches. Nothing insurmountable, but definitely a burden.

  3. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 3rd November 2015 / 13:15

    Thanks for the comments. This approach, maybe better called product serialization, will indeed require much on the infrastructure side. Interestingly we have seen the first implementations in emerging markets while the EU and US are still on the doorstep.

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