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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of October 16, 2019

Title 21Chapter ISubchapter CPart 201Subpart A → §201.25


Title 21: Food and Drugs
PART 201—LABELING
Subpart A—General Labeling Provisions


§201.25   Bar code label requirements.

(a) Who is subject to these bar code requirements? Manufacturers, repackers, relabelers, and private label distributors of a human prescription drug product or an over-the-counter (OTC) drug product that is regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Public Health Service Act are subject to these bar code requirements unless they are exempt from the registration and drug listing requirements in section 510 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

(b) What drugs are subject to these bar code requirements? The following drug products are subject to the bar code label requirements:

(1) Prescription drug products, however:

(i) The bar code requirement does not apply to the following entities:

(A) Prescription drug samples;

(B) Allergenic extracts;

(C) Intrauterine contraceptive devices regulated as drugs;

(D) Medical gases;

(E) Radiopharmaceuticals; and

(F) Low-density polyethylene form fill and seal containers that are not packaged with an overwrap.

(ii) The bar code requirement does not apply to prescription drugs sold by a manufacturer, repacker, relabeler, or private label distributor directly to patients, but versions of the same drug product that are sold to or used in hospitals are subject to the bar code requirements.

(2) Biological products; and

(3) OTC drug products that are dispensed pursuant to an order and are commonly used in hospitals. For purposes of this section, an OTC drug product is “commonly used in hospitals” if it is packaged for hospital use, labeled for hospital use (or uses similar terms), or marketed, promoted, or sold to hospitals.

(c) What does the bar code look like? Where does the bar code go? (1) Each drug product described in paragraph (b) of this section must have a bar code that contains, at a minimum, the appropriate National Drug Code (NDC) number in a linear bar code that meets European Article Number/Uniform Code Council (EAN/UCC) or Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) standards or another standard or format that has been approved by the relevant Food and Drug Administration Center Director. Additionally, the bar code must:

(i) Be surrounded by sufficient blank space so that the bar code can be scanned correctly; and

(ii) Remain intact under normal conditions of use.

(2) The bar code must appear on the drug's label as defined by section 201(k) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

(d) Can a drug be exempted from the bar code requirement? (1) On our own initiative, or in response to a written request from a manufacturer, repacker, relabeler or private label distributor, we may exempt a drug product from the bar code label requirements set forth in this section. The exemption request must document why:

(i) compliance with the bar code requirement would adversely affect the safety, effectiveness, purity or potency of the drug or not be technologically feasible, and the concerns underlying the request could not reasonably be addressed by measures such as package redesign or use of overwraps; or

(ii) an alternative regulatory program or method of product use renders the bar code unnecessary for patient safety.

(2) Requests for an exemption should be sent to the Office of Compliance, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002 (requests involving a drug product or biological product regulated by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research) or to the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Document Control Center, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. G112, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002 (requests involving a biological product regulated by the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research).

[69 FR 9170, Feb. 26, 2004, as amended at 76 FR 12847, Mar. 9, 2011; 80 FR 18090, Apr. 3, 2015; 81 FR 60212, Aug. 31, 2016]

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