Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NDC #s explained

Have you ever wondered what that long number on your medication was? Well it's called a National Drug Code or NDC number. You will see this number on every current medication that is manufactured, prepared, compounded, or processed for commercial distribution and human use in the United States. All medications must have this 10 digit, three segmented number and be listed in a directory for the FDA. This requirement comes to you courtesy of The Drug Listing Act of 1972. 

The NDC # can tell you a lot about the product. Below I will break it down for you using the NDC # on the photo in this post.

Segment 1 (52544) 
The laborer code. This number can be 4 or 5 digits and is assigned by the FDA. This number is basically the manufacturers social security number. It is unique to the manufacturer. So in this case 52544 is the registered number of Watson. This is important because many manufacturers can make the same drug. 

Segment 2 (163)
The product code. This number can be 3 or 4 digits and specifies drug formulation, dosage, and specific strength of the medication. This code tells me the medication is Maxidone or Hydrocodone Bitartrate 10mg and Acetaminophen 750mg.

Segment 3 (01)
The package code. This number can be 1 or 2 digits and identifies the package form and size. Here you have 100 units in pill form. 

All pharmacies around the country use this number for quality control. Once the name of the medication from the prescription is entered into your profile, the computer finds the NDC # for that medication and attaches it to your name. Those labels on your pill bottle are printed out. Your label is scanned then the manufacturers pill bottle is scanned. Notice the bar code on the right. The numbers on the barcode are the same as the NDC #. If the NDC # on your label does not match the one on the bottle we pulled from the shelf we know we grabbed the wrong medication. 

Congratulations! You learned something new today. 

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