It is not mandatory, but highly recommended, that all pharmaceutical packages with a marketing authorisation should have a machine-readable barcode printed on the package.
The standard of the barcode on pharmaceuticals in the Nordic countries is EAN, which contains an identification number on the format GTIN (changed names from EAN in 2003).
You can also add your barcodes to the Vnr extranet. If the barcode information is added, you can get a report of all the barcodes for your company from the programme.
Format of the barcode
The format of the barcode should be EAN-13, or where this is not possible EAN-8, i.e. the package is so small that there is not enough space for an EAN-13 barcode.
When it was decided that a barcode should be printed on all pharmaceutical packages in the 1980’s, the Vnr was central and dispensing was still handled manually. It was therefore argued that it was important that the Vnr should be included in the new identification code represented by the barcode. In order to achieve this it was decided that pharmaceuticals in the Nordic countries should have modified formats of GTIN-13 and GTIN-8. This format was named NTIN.
However, the prerequisite that the barcode should include a Vnr is no longer valid from a logistical point of view. This means that the GTIN-13 and GTIN-8 formats of the barcode currently can be GTIN or NTIN.
A GTIN-13 consists of 13 digits on the format:
Company’s prefix + article reference number + check digit
A GTIN-8 consists of 8 digits on the format: 7 3 X X X X S C
|7 3 X X X X||GS1-8-prefix – a six-digit company prefix allocated by GS1|
|S||one digit article reference number allocated by the company (1,2,3…0)|
|This means that GTIN-8 can be used to number up to 10 packages.|
|C||Check digit calculated in accordance with a GS1 algorithm|
For more information regarding GTINs, please see the local GS1 webpages
An NTIN-13 has the same format as a GTIN-13, i.e. 13 digits, but with a fixed prefix and a Vnr instead of an article reference number.
Prefix of Nordic Number Centre (704626) + Vnr + check digit
704626 is the prefix of NNC used as a common Nordic company prefix for pharmaceuticals.
An NTIN-8 has the format: 2 + Vnr + check digit
Please note that there is a theoretical risk of mix-ups with articles other than pharmaceuticals. To reduce this risk NTIN-8 should only be used on prescription medicines.
NTINs can only be acquired from NNC by using the Vnr extranet service: https://vnr.fi.
A confirmed barcode will then be visible in the detailed Vnr information section, for more information please contact NNC.