Originally Published MDDI May 2003NEWSTRENDSAbbott Completes Bar Coding Initiative by Gregg Nighswonger

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Abbott Completes Bar Coding Initiative

Originally Published MDDI May 2003


Abbott Completes Bar Coding Initiative 

by Gregg Nighswonger

About one fourth of all Abbott's IV solutions and 
injectables use RSS bar codes.

In March, Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL) completed its initiative to affix unit-of-use bar codes on all of its hospital injectable pharmaceuticals and IV solutions, encompassing more than 1000 products. The action was part of Abbott's effort to help reduce medication errors in hospitals.

Last July, Abbott announced its commitment to bar coding all of its product lines. The announcement was made prior to FDA hearings on the issue of requiring bar codes on pharmaceutical products (see related story on p. 25 of this issue). The firm says about 45% of its hospital injectable pharmaceuticals and IV solutions were being bar coded by that time. In addition, the majority of Abbott's oral pharmaceuticals distributed in bottles in the United States already included bar codes. 

Over the past year, the company has been developing bar-coding technology across hospital unit-dose packaging of these oral medications. Abbott says its program is consistent with the preliminary guidance issued in the agency's March 13 proposed rule to require bar coding on all prescription and some over-the-counter drugs and vaccines.

The firm also says that about one-quarter of its hospital injectables and IV solutions also use reduced space symbology (RSS). RSS allows a miniaturized bar code to be applied to single-unit containers as small as a pen cap. Previous technologies did not allow for smaller or odd-shaped containers to be effectively bar coded. Abbott says it is the first company to introduce RSS bar code technology commercially on its hospital injectable pharmaceuticals and IV solutions.

Abbott has also launched the LifeCare PCA3 Infusion System, a patient-controlled analgesia device that incorporates a built-in bar code reader. The device automatically verifies drug and dose concentrations. Last year, Abbott launched a needlestick prevention Web site, www.abbottnps.com, that offers background to clinicians on current needlestick prevention legislation, and information about preventing needlestick injuries.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

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