What is a Drug Verification System?

The goal of the European drug verification systems is to easily identify medications by printing codes and attaching security devices to the outer part of their package.
What is a Drug Verification System?
Iván Losada

Written and verified by the chiropractor Iván Losada.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

A drug verification system is a response to the directive aimed at fighting the increasingly frequent counterfeit medications. In this article, we’ll explain what it is.

The risks of counterfeit medications

Fake medications are a cheap crime that goes against the pharmaceutical industry and the government itself. This is mainly because cheaters don’t pay taxes. However, uncontrolled substances also pose a serious health risk.

Therefore, people who need medications may be consuming counterfeit medicines that don’t contain the active substances they require for the treatment of their disease. Also, they might ingest toxic products or some with various degrees of severe side effects.

You may be interested: HIV/AIDS Vaccine Soon to Be Tested

Objectives of the medication verification system

A person looking at drugs.

The ultimate goal of the medication verification system is to define the guidelines, safety framework, and technical precepts of medications. All of these will allow the identification and verification of the authenticity of the drugs dispensed through pharmacies. Also, it aims to fight against the online sale of counterfeit drugs.

The safety measures introduced all aim at the easy identification of medications by printing codes and safety devices on the outer surfaces of drug packages. This increases and tightens controls at pharmacies that dispense medications online, and increases the requirements for wholesaler registration.

These security measures will leave a record of going into and leaving the pharmacies. Those that operate online as well as the ones in hospitals – both public and private ones.

What does the medication verification system provide?

  • Unique coding and identification for each medication.
  • A unified and consolidated database for the entire industry, commerce, and administration.
  • The verification of every medication at the dispensing point.
  • It will facilitate patient safety and, at the same time, protect their privacy.
  • Plus, it will take advantage of the global benefits of universal signaling of all medications.
  • Also, it’ll provide a unique serial number for each medication.
  • It’ll simplify security measures and, at the same time, make them reliable and robust.
  • Finally, it’ll encourage participation and involve every area of the pharmaceutical system.

Security measures

An array of pills and capsules.

The security measures guarantee the authenticity of medicines through the drug verification system. Overall, it’s common to all EU member countries and serves to identify pharmacies that sell non-prescription drugs online.

Also, strict controls and standards are in place regarding the composition of medications, active ingredients, and wholesale manufacturers and marketers. The containers will carry safety devices called “Datamatrix” that must incorporate into the assembly lines of the pharmaceutical industry. The objective is to verify the authenticity and prevent manipulation.


Overall, the following organizations are part of the development and implementation of European regulations:

  • International Federation of Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers
  • Association for Accessible Medicines
  • General Pharmaceutical Council

This verification system entered into force on February 9, 2019, in all countries of the European Union, after three years of work. However, some actions are still pending in some countries before they can fully comply.

The pharmaceutical industry has invested more than 200 million euros to adapt its production lines to the new requirements posed by the launch of the new drug verification system. Therefore, the incidence of counterfeit medicines in the market is very low and is always related to the sale of medications online. However, experts believe it’s a good safety measure that will benefit consumers, industry and the state.

Overall, this medication verification system will be a key mechanism for the effective traceability of medications.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.