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National Drug Code Vaccine Database

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  • VISI proposed to use the National Drug Code (NDC) as the unique number to identify vaccines for barcoding purposes. The NDC is a 10-digit number that appears on every pharmaceutical vial and box distributed in the United States.

    Conversion Tables Required

    One vaccine type from a particular manufacturer may have multiple NDCs because its middle 3- or 4-digit "product string" differs for various pediatric and adult formulations, and its final 1- or 2-digit "packaging string" distinguishes single-dose, multi-dose, 10-pack of single doses, prefilled syringes, and other presentations. Thus, conversion tables were needed to convert NDC numbers into recognizable vaccine types.

    NDC Data Accessibility

    The main obstacle to the use of the NDC within the scope of the VISI was the lack of an authoritative, universally accessible, free of charge, easy to use, up-to-date database linking NDC numbers to the corresponding manufacturer, product identity, and other information (and vice versa). Such a database would have been helpful for developers of software programs for medical practice record-keeping and billing, and for immunization registries. Such software will require "lookup tables" to translate NDC numbers received from barcode scanners into their plain-English screen identities and HL7 codes, CPT™* codes, and perhaps other codesets.

    *Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

    Page last reviewed: January 9, 2008 (archived document)
    Page last updated: January 9, 2008
    Content source: Immunization Safety Office, Office of the Chief Science Officer
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