Pharmacies are an integral part of the Medicines Verification System. Pharmacies are the last part of the supply chain before dispensing safe medicines to the patient. Hospital pharmacies and dispensaries, in turn, effectively safeguard the public health medicine distribution.

Pharmacies verify the safety features on the medicine pack – the unique identifier and tamper evidence- at the point of dispensing the medicine to the patient. The pharmacy may also verify the unique identifier earlier, e.g. at the point of receiving the medicines from the wholesaler. However, the unique identifier may not be decommissioned from the repository system before the pack is being dispensed.

The aim is that the unique identifier is always decommissioned from the repository system as close to the end user, the patient, as possible. Thus, the possibility of falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain can be minimized.

Checking the authenticity of the medicine takes place by reading the 2D-matrix on the package with a scanner, followed by ensuring the anti tamper device is intact.

EU legislation enables hospital pharmacies to decommission the unique identifier already at the point of the medicine arriving at the hospital pharmacy.  Best practices regarding the time of decommissioning will depend largely on the hospital pharmacy’s stock management and the also the type of the medicine.

On-boarding pharmacies to the system

Pharmacies are connected to the National Medicines Verification System (NMVS) via their own existing IT systems. The system works in the background as far as possible without disturbing the normal routines of dispensing medicines to the patients.

IT partners that provide data systems for pharmacies and hospital pharmacies are closely involved in the work of FiMVO.

Alerts in the system

The system will generate error messages or alerts, for example, in cases of falsified medicines or due to missing product and batch data uploads. The root cause of an alert must always be solved before dispensing the pack to the patient. FiMVO has published an updated guideline on handling the alerts. The guideline describes the different alerts that arise in the medicines verification system and how to handle them from the perspective of different user groups. The document has been prepared in cooperation with stakeholders in the pharmaceutical distribution chain.

Technical issues and problems 

In rare cases, technical problems and/or temporary slowdown of the system (i.e. high response times) may occur. End users may experience problems reaching the NMVS.

FiMVO will inform stakeholders via email and news  in case of any major and/or long term disturbances.