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GlaxoSmithKline announces addition of 2D barcodes to vaccine containers

Pharmaceutical and healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will roll out two-dimensional (2D) barcodes on the inner containers as well as outer boxes for most of its US vaccines.

According to the company, a 2D barcode is a small square that can hold more information and occupies less space compared to the existing linear barcodes.

The extra capacity of 2D Data Matrix technology will allow GSK to encode product identification, expiration date and lot number on each vaccine product.

Healthcare providers that have the necessary hardware and software for this technology can update their inventory-management system, patient records and vaccination reports automatically by scanning the barcodes.

This will minimize the need for manual entry of information, which can be susceptible to administrative errors and incomplete record keeping.

GSK, which has already piloted the 1440 EL.U. vial presentation of Havrix (Hepatitis A Vaccine) with 2D barcoding, will phase in the additional vaccines with FDA-approved 2D barcoding.

The additional vaccines include BOOSTRIX, CERVARIX, ENGERIX-B, FLUARIX, FLUARIX QUADRIVALENT, HAVRIX, INFANRIX, KINRIX, PEDIARIX and TWINRIX.

GSK Vaccines North America Scientific Affairs and Public Policy vice president Dr Leonard Friedland said, "Through regular electronic scanning of information contained in 2D barcodes, we believe that a more accurate and complete picture of U.S. vaccine usage could emerge."