Background: Track and trace systems are increasingly being implemented as a technological solution to secure pharmaceutical supply chains. Turkey was the first country to implement a full pharmaceutical track and trace system throughout the entire regulated domestic supply chain. This article explores the emergence and functioning of this system and the consequences for substandard and falsified medicine with a focus on the underlying political and economic factors.
Methods: This study uses an explanatory case study approach that combined interviews with purposefully selected key informants and document analyses.
Results: The main drivers for implementing the pharmaceutical track and trace system in Turkey centered on the elimination of reimbursement fraud and the prevention of falsified medicine in the regulated supply chain. Although stakeholders experienced both physical and software-related problems in implementation, the alignment of incentives of all stakeholders with the power of the state, along with leeway for adaptations, ultimately resulted in a successful process. This track and trace system provides a clean regulated supply chain, minimizes reimbursement fraud, facilitates fast market recalls, and can flag likely medicine shortages. Staff previously engaged in pharmacy inspections now concentrate on ensuring production quality, which reduces the risk of substandard medicines.
Conclusions: In Turkey, 4 factors drove the successful implementation of pharmaceutical track and trace: the political determination to eliminate reimbursement fraud, a large pharmaceutical market dominated by a single payer, medicine reimbursement being contingent on verified dispensing and prescription, and flexibility to adapt the system according to the needs of stakeholders during implementation.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-20-00084, hdl.handle.net/1765/130376
Journal Global Health: Science and Practice
Citation
Parmaksiz, K, Pisani, E, & Kok, M.O. (2020). What Makes a National Pharmaceutical Track and Trace System Succeed?. Global Health: Science and Practice, 8(3). doi:10.9745/GHSP-D-20-00084