Case Study: Using Barcodes to Track Radioactive Pharmaceuticals

1D bar code

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) operates Australia’s sole nuclear reactor and has long been a center for nuclear science and technology. ANSTO Radiopharmaceuticals & Industrials (ARI), a division of ANSTO, produces small, customized batches of radioactive pharmaceutical products for therapeutics and diagnostics.

ARI solved a variety of database and production management challenges through a successful integration of SAP with the BarTender label software package from Seagull Scientific.

The Challenge: Making Labels Less Expensively
While Ensuring Compliance

Previously, labeling operations at ARI had been undesirably labor-intensive. Several different label programs were used and large portions of the label data were keyed-in by hand. Manufacturing records were frequently paper-based. Accordingly, ARI saw the need for better automation of their production and management processes – in particular, a secure, real time, labeling process that improved efficiency while reducing the opportunity for human error. Furthermore, because ARI has customers in Australia, Asia and the US, they are subject to regulation and auditing by a number of agencies whose labeling standards and reporting requirements were not necessarily compatible. Among these were Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clearly, they needed not just flexibility in their data processing but in their labeling as well.

The Solution: Teaming Up SAP and BarTender
ARI selected SAP as their corporate database management system and the Enterprise edition of BarTender from Seagull Scientific as their label printing software. According to Gareth Rees, the system developer for the integration project, “BarTender was an indispensable tool in the overall architecture. It performed reliably and consistently on a technical level.”

ARI evaluated nine competing label software packages and saw that BarTender stood out from the pack in quite a few ways, including:

  • Seagull Scientific’s status as an SAP software partner was confidence-inspiring.
  • BarTender’s SAP-certified direct interface to SAP IDocs greatly simplified ARI’s integration tasks.
  • BarTender has a password protection feature that satisfied the need for data security. (BarTender will not allow changes to protected label formats without appropriate password entry.)
  • BarTender fully supports any printer that has a Windows driver, including color laser and thermal label printers, both of which ARI intends to use in their application.
  • BarTender was the first label software with all the above features to support the RSS-14 symbology. RSS brought ARI’s new labels up to date with the latest pharmaceutical standards (such as the USA FDA’s title 21 CFR part 11) while leaving sufficient room on their labels for the large volume of mandatory data that would not otherwise fit.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ARI found BarTender very easy to learn and use.

The Result
ARI completed user-acceptance trials for their new, real-time labeling system for radiopharmaceutical products. Their new labeling process, with SAP and BarTender playing key roles, ensures that data is tightly controlled, secure, correct and compliant with TGA and FDA regulations. Operating costs are lower thanks to labor hours saved through better automation, and operator errors have been greatly reduced. ANSTO Business Analyst Alison Kenyon says of BarTender, “I am very, very pleased with its performance. It has made my support period very easy indeed. The general response has been that BarTender is a very good product.”

For more information about ANSTO and ARI see:

For information about Seagull Scientific and the BarTender see  –>

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