When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) enacted the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in 2013, it set a 10-year timeline for the entire pharmaceutical supply chain to become interoperable – all the way from pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesaler distributors down to pharmacy dispensers.
To enable this fully interoperable traceability across the pharmaceutical supply chain, industry leaders are endorsing a standardized approach to location identification with the GS1 Global Location Number (GLN). A GLN is the globally unique GS1 Identification Number used to identify parties and locations. The GLN can be used to identify a legal entity (like a health system), a functional entity (like a pharmacy dispenser or accounting department), or a physical location (like a distribution center, hospital wing, loading dock door, storage location, or nursing station).
The GLN will assure trading partners can share information related to Transaction Information (TI) and Transaction Statements (TS), along with helping verify product information through a third-party routing system, like Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS)
How do I get a GLN?
For pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesale distributors who are currently assigning Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) or Serialized Shipping Container Codes (SSCCs) - you already have access to an entity GLN. If you have a need for more than one GLN, you can access your GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) to enumerate additional locations or parties.
For hospitals, retail pharmacies, home health agencies and long-term care facilities - you might already have a GLN assigned by your Wholesale Distributor or Group Purchasing Organization. If you work with AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson Pharmaceuticals, Smith Drug Company, HealthTrust, Premier or Vizient, please contact them to see if they already have an assigned GLN for your location.
If none of the above applies to you, you will need to determine if you are a member of GS1 US – simply meaning your company already licenses a GS1 Company Prefix.
- If you do, reach out to your internal primary contact who manages your GS1 US account or contact GS1 US member support.
- If you are not member of GS1 US, you can choose to either license a GS1 Company Prefix or an individual GS1 US GLN. A GS1 Company Prefix would be better if you have more than 10 locations to identify. If you have less than 10, an individual GLN license could be a better option.
I have my GLN – Now what?
Getting a GLN is not enough to enable full interoperability though. To get the full value, you need to create your GLN, assign what locations or parties it identifies, and share that information with your trading partners. GS1 US Data Hub | Location provides a single source of accurate information on locations and how they’re related - enabling you to create, assign and share your GLNs with other subscribers. To help you create and assign your GLNs, our Introduction to the Global Location Number guideline walks you through the steps needed to construct and allocate your GLN and includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions for GLNs.
*For information about the act, see the 2013 Drug Supply Chain Security Act
Disclaimer: GS1 US is the local GS1 Member Organization that supports implementation of the GS1 System in the United States. GS1 US employees are not representatives or agents of the U.S. FDA, and the content herein has not been reviewed, approved, or authorized by the U.S. FDA.