"Quality and Comprehensiveness of the National Drug Code
Directory on Magnetic Tape", (c) Gibson GT, Barker KN,
American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 1988
quality and comprehensiveness of the FDA's National Drug
Code Directory (NDCD) in magnetic tape form was evaluated.
The internal quality of the tape was measured by
performing cross-checks of the four record types found on
the tape and by checking for the presence of "illegal"
characters. The comprehensiveness of the tape was
evaluated by determining the extent to which a sample of
items from nine community and hospital pharmacies could be
matched with code numbers on the NDCD tape.
test of comprehensiveness measured the match rate between
the shelf stock sample and National Drug Code (NDC)
numbers in a magnetic tape supplied by a regional
wholesaler. External quality was measured by comparing the
NDC numbers on the containers of items from the shelf
sample with the corresponding information in the NDCD
tape. More than 300 discrepancies among the four types of
records were discovered, and more than 100 "illegal"
characters were present in each of the four record types.
Matches on the NDCD tape could be found for 80% of the
items in the shelf stock sample and 69.5% of the items in
the tape supplied by the wholesaler.
A total of 156 errors were
discovered when the codes on containers in the shelf
sample were matched with the NDCD tape information,
yielding an error rate of 6.5%. Because of the 6.5% error
rate, the usefulness of the NDCD tape is questionable.
Since only 80% of an off-the-shelf sample of drugs had
matches on the NDCD tape, about 20% of drug products would
have to be matched with some other information source. How
these figures for the NDCD tape compare with figures for
proprietary tapes is not known.