The GS1 System of Standards for Healthcare has won the endorsement of more than 30 leading Healthcare stakeholders from around the world.

The Healthcare stakeholders expressed their strong support in a signed position paper endorsing the adoption of GS1 as the global standard best suited for their industry. They took this action after McKinsey & Company published a report stating that ‘significant patient safety benefits and cost savings can be obtained by implementing and using a single global standard in Healthcare’. The stakeholders who are calling for that standard to be GS1 represent major manufacturers, distributors and hospitals around the world including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.

The companies that signed the position paper include some of the most recognised and respected companies in Healthcare. They include: 3M, Abbott, Apotex, Axway, Baxter, Bayer, BD, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Cardinal Health, CH2, Covidien, Fedefarma, Fresenius Kabi, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Mölnlycke, Novation, Pfizer, Premier, RX360 and Sanofi Pasteur. Hospitals and Group Purchasing Organisations endorsing GS1 Healthcare Standards in the position paper include organisations in the United States, Novation and Premier; in Ireland, St. James Hospital; the Department of Health UK for all NHS hospitals; in Spain, Logaritme, Province of Catalonia; in France, Hospital Centre Robert Ballanger, Hospital Centre of Brive, Hospital Centre Rene Dubois, Hospital Sud Francilien, University Hospital of Strasbourg, University Hospital of Dijon, Hospital Centre of Coulommiers; and in Japan, NTT Medical Center Tokyo. 

“As GS1 Standards for Healthcare were developed and became available over the last few years, Healthcare communities across the globe have embraced them and advanced their implementation,” the Healthcare leaders state in the position paper. “GS1 Standards enable streamlined supply chain processes and improve visibility – from manufacturers to patients,” the statement continues. 

“Global adoption of the GS1 Standards will clearly benefit patients and industry stakeholders worldwide” said Orlando Serani, Vice President, Global Business Services, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. 

“GS1 welcomes the endorsement of the GS1 System of Standards for Healthcare by so many leading stakeholders in the Global Healthcare industry,” said GS1 CEO Miguel Lopera from the GS1 Global Office in Brussels. “All of the members of the GS1 Healthcare team have worked hard to ensure that GS1 Healthcare Standards maximise patient safety, optimise supply chain efficiency and minimise costs for all partners in the supply chain. We invite Healthcare stakeholders who are not yet using the GS1 System to look at the advantages that GS1’s single global standard for Healthcare offers and to adopt the GS1 System for their operations.” 

Healthcare systems around the world are facing challenges that affect the entire supply chain, from manufacturers to wholesalers, distributors, group purchasing organisations and Healthcare providers. These challenges are related to, for example; counterfeiting, ineffective product recall and medication errors, and they affect the entire Healthcare supply chain. Stemming these soaring costs has become a major policy priority for Healthcare trading partners. 

Implementing global standards across the entire healthcare supply chain could save 22,000-43,000 lives and avert 0.7 to 1.4 million patient disabilities, according to the McKinsey report. Called “Strength in unity: The promise of global standards in Healthcare”, the report is based on interviews with 80 thought leaders in the Healthcare industry. The report also found that rolling out a single, global standards-based system will:

  • Keep tens of billions of dollars in counterfeit drugs out of the legitimate supply chain.
  • Enable substantial safety benefits that would reduce Healthcare costs by $40-100 billion.
  • Cost significantly less than two or more systems.

Regulations also continue to evolve and will have a direct impact on the Healthcare supply chain, requiring stakeholders to implement automatic identification (AIDC) technologies to ensure traceability of Healthcare products. Studies have suggested bar coding and bedside scanning can reduce medication errors by as much as 40%1. 

About GS1 
GS1 is a neutral, not-for-profit, international organisation that develops global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply chains across industries. It engages a global community of trading partners, industry organisations and technology providers to understand their business needs and develops global standards in response to those needs. GS1 is driven by close to two million user organisations, in over 20 industries including retail & consumer goods, healthcare, transport & logistics, and more. Today, the GS1 System of standards is the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. GS1 has local Member Organisations in over 110 countries and its head office is in Brussels. For more information, visit: 

About GS1 Healthcare 
GS1 Healthcare is a global user community consisting of all Healthcare supply chain stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, Healthcare providers, industry associations and regulatory authorities. The mission of GS1 Healthcare is to lead the Healthcare sector to the successful development and implementation of global standards by bringing together experts in Healthcare to enhance patient safety and supply chain efficiencies. The vision of GS1 Healthcare is to be the recognised, open and neutral source for regulatory agencies, trade organisations and other similar stakeholders who are seeking input and direction for global standards in Healthcare for patient safety, supply chain security & efficiency, traceability and accurate data synchronisation. For more information about the GS1 global Healthcare user group, visit: