Commerce Ministry Exempts Pharma Companies From Barcoding For Exports For Six Months

Commerce Ministry Exempts Pharma Companies From Barcoding For Exports For Six Months

Mumbai, 4 May 2018: Taking serious note of glitches in functioning of Drug Authentication and Verification Application (DAVA), the Union commerce ministry has directed the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to put implementation of bar-coding on secondary and tertiary packaging of pharmaceutical consignment for exports in abeyance for six months. 

The ministry has instructed National Informatics Centre (NIC) which developed the portal to upgrade it in six months to ensure its smooth operation.

Exporters/manufacturers were facing problems in uploading their products’ data on the DAVA portal for two level of packaging i.e. secondary and tertiary maintaining parent-child relationship as the central portal was not functioning properly.

At a meeting held by commerce ministry in New Delhi on April 24, representatives from Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA), the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) had raised the difficulty faced by exporters/manufacturers while uploading data on the central portal. 

Taking serious note of it, commerce secretary Rita Teaotia had directed DGFT to put the implementation of bar-coding on pharmaceutical consignment for export on hold for six months and resume its execution after six months when NIC resolves shortcomings of the central portal. Teaotia asked DGFT to issue a notification in this regard.

In a bid to resolve the problems faced by pharma units while uploading data on DAVA portal, the commerce ministry has decided to set up a helpline desk with experts in line with help desk set up by GST Council. It is set to appoint a team of professionals to monitor the functioning of DAVA portal.

Scores of pharma units whose export consignments were stuck at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust since last three weeks due to non-compliance with track and trace requirements for exports as mandated by the DGFT heaved a sigh of relief. 

Subhash Agrawal, Commissioner of Customs, Jawaharlal Nehru Customs House in a letter to pharmaceutical manufacturers and exporters on April 13, 2018 stated that if the barcoding is not proper on secondary and tertiary packaging of export consignment, such consignments cannot be allowed to be exported and have to be ordered back to town by the competent authority. Further, in case of such export consignments/shipping bills which comply with the proper bar-coding as per the DGFT guidelines on secondary and tertiary packaging, but are short of verification of their data on the DAVA portal for want of uploading the same, the same cannot be allowed to be exported.

As per DGFT, non-SSI units with manufacturing date on or after April 1, 2016 and all drugs manufactured by SSI units with manufacturing date on or after April 1, 2017 can be exported only if both tertiary and secondary packaging carry one or two dimensional (1D or 2D) bar-code encoding unique and universal global product identification code in the format of 14 digits 'global trade item number' (GTIN) along with batch number, expiry date and a unique serial number of the secondary or tertiary pack. Further on, the relevant data is also required to be uploaded on the central portal. 

Bhavin Mehta, director, Kilitch Drugs said “The commerce ministry has acknowledged lacunae in DAVA portal. It has given six months' time to NIC to improve the portal operation. Simultaneously, pharma units have also got six months' time to get ready for the bar-coding.”

Nipun Jain, CEO, SME Panel, Pharmexcil who was instrumental in ensuring exemption from bar-coding for exports till the DAVA portal starts functioning properly, said “The commerce secretary has taken note of glitches in functioning of DAVA portal. NIC handling DAVA portal cited shortage of funds in up gradation of system to make operation of the central more efficient. NIC was assured of funding. The ministry has taken a step to address the long pending demand of exporters.” Pharmabiz