About GS1 Healthcare

GS1 Healthcare is a voluntary, global Healthcare user group bringing together all related Healthcare stakeholders: pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, group purchasing organizations, hospitals, pharmacies, logistics providers, governmental and regulatory bodies, and associations.

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.

GS1 Standards at Use in the Healthcare Sector

GS1 Standards enable the realization in the Healthcare sector of all health and economic benefits related to automatic identification, traceability, and data synchronization.

Synchronizing accurate, properly classified data results in:
  • Smoother and quicker business processes
  • Improved accuracy of orders
  • Fewer forms to fill out
  • Fewer duplicate systems and processes
  • A proven way to drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain
To learn more about GS1 Healthcare, please click here to visit GS1 Global Website

Healthcare Activities in Korea

Standardization process

  • Use of barcode for pharmaceutical products became law in July 2000.
  • In Jan 2008, the government revised the law, introducing Korea Drug Code(KDC), which is a unique code for identification of individual pharmaceutical products in accordance with GS1 standards
Types and Composition of Pharmaceutical Barcode
type barcode 1 barcode 2 barcode 3
Identification Code
  • GTIN-13
  • GTIN-14
  • Data Matrix
  • ITF-14
  • Data Matrix
  • GS1-128
  • Data Matrix
No. of digit
  • 13-digit number
  • 14-digit number
  • GS1-128: not more than 48-digit alphanumeric
  • Data Matrix: not more than 2,335-digit alphanumeric

Implementation timeline

  • As of 15 Jan 2008, all drugs must have a GS1 barcode encoded with the KDC(except small items).
  • As of Jan 2010, all drugs, including small items(less than 15cc), must have a GS1 barcode encoded with the KDC.
  • As of Jan 2012, all specified drugs must have a GS1 Data Matrix or GS1-128(expiry date and lot number are needed).
  • As of Jan 2013, all ethical drugs must have a GS1 Data Matrix or GS1-128(expiry date and lot number are needed).


  • GS1 Korea continues to educate industry about the applications of barcodes to improve healthcare in cooperation with regulatory bodies.
  • GS1 Korea publishes a user manual to provide manufacturers with specific examples based on global standards.