May 17, 2020

Authentag releases new Distributed Ledger Technology within pharmaceutical tracking

pharmaceutical
Catherine Sturman
2 min
ALT
In order to protect the identification of pharmaceutical products or parties involved within the distribution of pharmaceutical items, SaaS company Auth...

In order to protect the identification of pharmaceutical products or parties involved within the distribution of pharmaceutical items, SaaS company Authentag has created distribution ledger technology (DLT) which will adhere to all Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requirements surrounding the use shared data within its pharmaceutical tracking capabilities.

Focused on improving supply chain controls and tracking since 2014, Authentag's existing platform for medical device inventory control and apps are presently used by over 150 manufacturers in 30 countries and has garnered the interest of pharmaceutical companies struggling to comply with new US FDA regulations under the Drug Supply Chain Act (DSCSA).

"Authentag is uniquely positioned to address inventory control in the pharmaceutical community," commented W. Scott Berg, co-founder of Authentag.

"We've used our collective experience to build an innovative tracking technology for the medical device industry.

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"We've been fortunate to have great support from the pharmaceutical industry, who keep impressing on us the need to have a working solution running and in compliance with the FDA by November 2019," added Stuart Corby, co-founder of Authentag.

"Our latest platforms will provide an open source architecture allows members of the pharmaceutical community to develop solutions and improve the safety and security of pharmaceutical products in the US. Through our blockchain-based technology, we will improve overall healthcare outcomes for patients."

On January 31, 2018, KPMG invited Authentag to present to the Healthcare Distributors Association (HAD), a trade group which represents 98 percent of the pharmaceutical industry.

Based on Authentag's long track record of success, Authentag presented the company's existing solution and an outline of how a community owned DLT, or blockchain-based technology, is one of the only cost-effective and viable solutions for all incoming regulation and internal inventory management needs within the community. At the conclusion of the meeting, HDA members tasked Authentag with building a new DLT platform.

Since the January meeting, Authentag has begun work to apply the company's existing expertise in DLT systems to allow full life-cycle tracing for the pharmaceutical industry, a $450 billion USD marketplace.

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Jul 24, 2021

A guide to labelling compliance for medical devices

medicaldevices
Technology
healthcare
Compliance
Susan Gosnell
4 min
A guide to labelling compliance for medical devices
Susan Gosnell, Product Manager at Loftware, explains labelling compliance for small medical device manufacturers

Small medical device manufacturers often find themselves scrambling to achieve the necessary compliance and validation, risking costly mistakes.

Validating systems and processes including labelling, to ensure they are compliant with stringent regulatory standards is tough and can be expensive. Indeed, compliance with the EU’s Medical Device Regulation (MDR) will cost more than 5% of annual sales, according to 48% of 101 companies polled by the German company Climedo Health, in July and August 2020 about their MDR-readiness.

But if companies bungle the software validation process or put incorrect and uncompliant data on the labels themselves, the penalties are likely to be more severe than just making corrections. Health and safety may be put at risk and fines imposed for failing to comply. When it comes to compliance, they may become overwhelmed with regulations in other geographic regions that focus on device traceability, each with a unique device identifier (UDI-like) component to it. 

On the validation front, companies may not be familiar with the software validation process and the multiple tests and documentation necessary for validation are demanding if companies only have a small IT team that is very busy.

Putting a plan in place

MDR-compliant labelling, however, brings with it certain requirements which differ from what is demanded under the FDA’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) system rules. Under MDR, for example, manufacturers must ensure the label specifically states the device is a medical one using an MD symbol in a box. This is only one of many stipulations that usually require redesigned labels.

Small medical device manufacturers who rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual or legacy labelling processes to facilitate these label updates run the risk of mislabelling which can lead to non-compliance.  They may have limited staff and no structured processes around roles and responsibilities when it comes to label design, changes and approval. As project leads work toward a compliant labelling process, it is therefore important to establish defined roles and access for each stage of the process.

When dealing with a compliance initiative, up to date, correct and compliant labelling is imperative. This involves having all the relevant label design elements in place to comply with the EU MDR or FDA regulations. Many times, label templates are hard coded, meaning IT must be involved in making changes. And with IT staff often being tasked with multiple mission-critical projects in the organisation, labelling projects can be delayed. For many small medical device manufacturers who have limited resources, finding a solution can be a challenge.

Why labelling in the cloud offers a roadmap forward

Validation-ready cloud labelling solutions have now emerged to ease compliance with regulations and time-consuming validation requirements. These solutions, built with the needs of regulated companies in mind, digitise the quality control processes and facilitate compliant labelling with role-based access, approval workflows and electronic signatures. Outside of compliance, carrying out labelling in the cloud drives scalability and productivity for small medical device manufacturers and boosts overall efficiency.

The latest cloud labelling solutions integrate with other cloud solutions, allowing for seamless functionality and minimising the need for local infrastructure resources and cost.

When it comes to validation, as with many labelling systems, those hosted in the cloud have vendor-supplied documentation that streamlines the process and significantly eases the burden when it comes to installation qualification (IQ). The manufacturer itself has a much lighter burden and a streamlined path to a validated system and process.

A more relaxed software release schedule eases the validation burden on life sciences companies because the software is updated once a year rather than multiple times. This gives them a continuously updated and maintained labelling solution without increasing the validation workload on their IT staff.  

Future-proof technology

The manufacturer would of course need to work closely alongside the vendor and review the documentation, but, if needed, the vendor is able to do much of the work for them, providing not only the full validation acceleration pack but also professional services to assist with the validation process.

While some medical device manufacturers choose to tackle validation on their own, the vendor supplied validation acceleration pack or documentation helps to simplify the process. Consultancy and advice around validation is usually available from the vendor, tailored to the business’s specific needs.

Given the immense hassles of compliance for small device manufacturers, cloud-based labelling systems offer the benefits of a full label management system while easing compliance and validation. This is a future-proof technology. With a cloud-based labelling system, medical device manufacturers can be confident that they are running the most up-to-date software, enabling them to address the fast-changing new regulations and cope with whatever comes their way. And especially in the current pandemic, when face-to-face meetings are still problematic, it is a perfect way to keep labelling operations moving forward.

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