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August 12, 1974

Drug-Imprint Coding

Author Affiliations

Children's Orthopedic Hospital Seattle

JAMA. 1974;229(7):766. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230450016010

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To the Editor.—  The past decade has seen imprinting of coded information on solid medication forms (tablets and capsules) become a reality. Elements of industry have been leaders in this transition. One firm initiated the process in 1967, and others followed shortly, so that today, some 68 of 70 of the pharmaceutical forms illustrating their products in the Physician's Desk Reference use some element of an imprint. One company has taken the step of imprinting brand names directly on its products.Last summer (1973), an international symposium was held at Nancy, France, to discuss this issue. More than 100 representatives of 16 countries from four continents were present. Initial attention focused on trying to use physical characteristics as a basis of identification, and then the possible causes of failure, ie, color changes over time, manufacturing tolerance limits, and other factors. Nonetheless, in many countries, this system is the only option.