Covid Logistics & Datamatrix

Packaging with data-matrix code

Covid was a huge stress on logistics chains, with a lot of improvisation. While cleaning up, I found an interesting packaging for nasal self-tests: it has a typical Datamatrix code. But also various indications written on the box, so, of course I checked the content of the code.


That’s not a lot of data and it does not seem to follow the GS1 Datamatrix specification, as there are no application codes, which is a bit surprising for a product from the medical world. Instead of the group separator character (␝) it uses the underscore character as a separator. Basically we have the 09444955001 value, which is also written beside the 2D-code, 8 zeroes of padding, because we all need padding and some sub-code 02.

GS1 DatamatrixThe thing is, this product has many codes, including a GTIN, which was probably attached as a label somewhere else on the box. A proper code for this item would have been something like this.


The code contains the GTIN, the PZN (German Pharmacy Number), as well as the original code under the custom data header. The iGepir application hapilly decodes the GTIN and gives me the owner: SD BIOSENSOR, INC. 16, Deogyeong-daero 1556beon-gil, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do in Korea.

Why did the manufacturer not add a GS1 compliant Datamatrix? I suppose this was not needed, although having a linear barcode for the GTIN, or the linear Code 39 for the PZN would certainly have simplified the life of a few pharmacists. I must say I’m surprised that the production day is missing and the lot number is not explicitly called out…

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