This post was written by Kevin M. Madagan.

Time to pop the bubbly a little early! FDA announced today that the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) deadline of January 1, 2015 for product tracing (i.e., the new federal pedigree standards) will not be enforced until May 1, 2015. This means manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and repackagers have an additional four months to work with trading partners to determine how best to comply with the DSCSA pedigree standards.  Although we are not surprised by this development, it is still cause to celebrate, given the potential adverse impact of enforcing the requirements before industry is prepared for compliance.

The new DSCSA Compliance Policy – DSCSA Implementation: Product Tracing Requirements – Compliance Policy Guidance for Industry – announces that FDA “recognizes” that some manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and repackagers “may need additional time to work with trading partners” to ensure that all of the product tracing information required under the DSCSA is provided to and captured by the recipient trading partner. It also acknowledges the very real concern that enforcing the January 1, 2015 deadline could disrupt the supply chain and impact patients’ access to needed prescription drugs. 

The DSCSA Compliance Policy is clear: FDA “does not intend to take action against trading partners (manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and repackagers) who do not, prior to May 1, 2015, provide or capture the transaction information, transaction history, and transaction statement required by section 582 of the FD&C Act (product tracing information) associated with each transaction of certain human, finished prescription drugs, as defined in section 581 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360eee).” The policy is limited only to the DSCSA requirements that trading partners provide and capture product tracing information; it does not extend to other DSCSA requirements, such as verification related to suspect and illegitimate product (including quarantine, investigation, notification and recordkeeping) and requirements related to engaging in transactions only with authorized trading partners.