Bar codes: Scanning the past for the future: Page 2 of 2

Daphne Allen in Bar Coding on April 04, 2013


Milestones in Bar Coding


1952—Invention of the bar code.

1974—The Uniform Code Council (UCC) is established in the United States as a not-for-profit standards organization.

1974—On April 26, a pack of Wrigley’s gum becomes the first product to be scanned with a GS1 bar code in a supermarket in Ohio, GS1 reports.

1996—The Data Matrix symbol was accepted as an AIM standard.

1999—The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, which cited bar coding as a potential method to reduce medical errors, reports HIBCC.

2003—Pfizer introduces 2-D bar codes on hospital unit-dose packages.

2004—U.S. FDA’s Bar Code Rule requiring the National Drug Code to be encoded in linear bar codes for all pharmaceuticals issued pursuant to a physician’s orders.

2005—GS1 Global Healthcare User Group created, followed by local GS1 healthcare implementation groups in 30 countries including the United States.

2007—FDA Amendments Act signed into law by President George W. Bush. The act states that “the secretary shall promulgate regulations establishing a unique device identification system for medical devices.”

2010—FDA guidance on Standardized Numerical Identification (SNI) for prescription drug packages.

2011—The Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF) draft guideline on UDI and medical devices to achieve greater uniformity between national medical device regulatory systems around the world, reports GS1.

2012—The U.S. FDA Unique Device Identification (UDI) proposed regulation that would require unique identification marking on most medical device items.

2012—CDC uses GS1 DataMatrix to mark and control the Vaccines Information Sheets (VIS), reports GS1.

2015—California’s Electronic Pedigree law takes effect, under which at least 50% of a manufacturer’s pharmaceutical products will need to bear a serial number at the lowest saleable level by January 2015, and the remaining by January 2016.

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