Verification scanner

3 million packages have already been checked in the Latvian Medicines Verification System

A new medicines safety testing system has been successfully implemented in Latvia for five months, which has been simultaneously introduced in more than 30 European countries with the aim to prevent the risk of patients receiving or buying falsified medicines. 

Since 9 February when the system started operating, end users in Latvia – pharmacies and healthcare institutions – have already verified and decommissioned from the system more than 3 million medicine packages.

The basic principle of the verification system operation is that each medicine package is labelled with a unique code in the factory during the manufacturing process, and the data of all producers and product codes are uploaded and stored in a common European database. This code is checked at all stages of medicine distribution on the way to the consumer. The unique code is deleted from the European Verification System before selling the medicine at a pharmacy or at any moment in hospital, outpatient facility, medical centre, medical practice or dental clinic. Thus, it will be no longer possible to sell the second medicine package with the same code, e. g., copied onto a falsified package – the system will display a warning and the medicine will be withdrawn from circulation and investigated.

The verification system applies to prescription medicines and one over-the-counter medicine – Omeprazole. In Latvia, the verification system is established and managed by the Latvian Medicines Verification Organisation (LZVO). In Latvia, wholesalers, pharmacies and healthcare institutions (hospitals, outpatient facilities, medical centres, medical practices, dental clinics and practices) shall connect to the Latvian medicines verification system and verify the authenticity of the medicines.

There are already 1,164 users connected to the system. However, connecting is still ongoing, new users connect to the medicines verification system every week.

Healthcare institutions
Dental institutions and practices
General practitioner
Other specialist practices

“The operation of the Latvian medicines verification system is stable, it operates without interrruptions,” emphasises Inese Erdmane, Chairman of the Board at LZVO. “Users continue to connect, and existing users verify and decommission medicines in the new system. Certainly, as any new system, it needs some “warming-up time”, when some technical and process-related shortcomings are discovered and eliminated.”

Inaccurate producer’s data in the system or certain technical shortcomings may result in an alert shown to an end user during medicine verification at the pharmacy. In Latvia, the number of alert messages is only 0.2% of the total number of verified medicine packages. LZVO and national competent authorities – the Health Inspection and the State Agency of Medicines – can monitor alert messages in the Latvian medicines verification system. In case of an alert message LZVO will contact both end users and producer’s representatives to check the causes of the alert message, their actions and outcome. 

No falsified medicines have been detected in Latvia during the operation of the system, but the information from other European countries shows that the system has already discovered several cases of falsified medicines; and warnings about them are available on the website of the Health Inspection.

The establishment of the medicines verification system is stipulated by the EU Falsified Medicinal Products Directive (2011/62/EU) and a delegated regulation laying down detailed rules for the safety features appearing on the packaging of medicinal products for human use (EU 2016/161).