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Data Matrix Code and Drug Serialization

What is the Data Matrix?

La différence code Datamatrix vs QR code par Design Data

The Data Matrix is a type of two-dimensional (2D) barcode that can store a large amount of information, including numbers, letters, symbols, and even binary characters.

It is often used in various industries for product tracking and management, as well as in other applications such as drug traceability, logistics, and inventory tracking.

A Data Matrix consists of a pattern of square or rectangular modules arranged in rows and columns.

These modules are black or white, and the specific arrangement of these modules encodes the data.

What is the difference between a QR Code and a Data Matrix code?

QR codes and Data Matrix codes are two types of two-dimensional (2D) barcodes that allow for denser information storage than traditional one-dimensional (1D) barcodes. Here's how they differ:


  • QR Code: QR codes consist of a matrix of square or rectangular modules arranged in a square shape. They have three alignment squares in the corners that help readers determine the size and orientation of the code.

  • Data Matrix Code: Data Matrix codes are also made up of a matrix of modules, but they do not have alignment squares. They can be square or rectangular and are more compact than QR codes.

Storage Capacity

  • QR Code: QR codes generally have a higher storage capacity than Data Matrix codes. They can store different types of data, including numbers, letters, symbols, and even images.

  • Data Matrix Code: Although Data Matrix codes are more compact, they can store a considerable amount of information, though generally less than a QR code.


  • QR Code: QR codes are widely used in various fields, including marketing, advertising, event tickets, mobile payments, etc.

  • Data Matrix Code: Data Matrix codes are often used in applications where space is limited, such as on small pharmaceutical or electronic products, as well as in industrial applications for inventory tracking and management.


  • QR Code: QR code readers are very common and can be found on many mobile devices and tablets. There are also many software and applications that can read QR codes.

  • Data Matrix Code: There are also many Data Matrix code readers available. While these may not be as common as QR code readers, they are used mainly in industries and businesses.

Error Correction

  • QR Code: QR codes often have error correction mechanisms that allow for data recovery even if the code is partially damaged or obscured.

  • Data Matrix Code: Data Matrix codes generally have good error correction capabilities, though this may depend on the level of correction chosen when generating the code.

Why use Data Matrix codes for drug serialization rather than QR Codes?

Drug Serialization

Drug serialization, which involves assigning a unique identifier to each unit of produced medicine, is a crucial measure to ensure the traceability and safety of drugs.

It allows for tracking the journey of each drug from manufacturing to final distribution, which helps prevent counterfeiting, falsification, and ensures the authenticity of pharmaceutical products.

Using Data Matrix codes for serialization

La différence code Datamatrix vs QR code par Design Data

Using Data Matrix codes instead of QR codes for drug serialization can be explained by several reasons:

Compact Size

Data Matrix codes can be more compact than QR codes for the same amount of information. This is particularly useful on drug packaging where space may be limited.

Adequate Storage Capacity

Data Matrix codes have adequate storage capacity for the unique identification of drugs. They can store a unique serial number as well as other information necessary for traceability.

Robust Reading

Data Matrix codes are designed to be read accurately even in conditions where the code may be partially damaged or obscured.

This is especially important to ensure reliable reading on packaging that may be exposed to different environmental conditions.

Regulatory Requirements

In some cases, regulatory authorities may specify the use of Data Matrix codes for drug serialization.

This will depend on the specific standards of the pharmaceutical industry or guidelines issued by regulatory bodies in a particular country, for example.

Industry Usage History

Data Matrix codes have been used in the pharmaceutical industry for drug serialization for some time now.

Supply chain actors in the pharmaceutical industry are therefore widely familiar with this technology and have gained experience in using Data Matrix codes, which contributes to its establishment as a standard for the pharmaceutical industry.

In summary, while QR codes and Data Matrix codes share many similarities, they are optimized for different uses based on their specific characteristics.

The choice between the two will depend on the particular application and the constraints of the environment in which the code will be used.

Going further with Serial BI by Design Data

At Design Data, we have developed Serial BI, a solution dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry, allowing for simplified management of serialization alerts.

Thanks to our 100% customized management dashboards, pharmaceutical laboratories have increased visibility over the distribution of their medicines and can intervene quickly and effectively in case of alerts.

Easy to follow with numerous graphs and easy to manipulate with dynamic gauges, Design Data's dashboard will be your best ally in strengthening your company's performance through data.

Want to learn more about our management cockpit and how it can simplify and enhance the management of your serialization alerts?

Connect with our team now!

Design Data Consulting, Consulting & Intelligent Analytics Solutions to Simplify Decision Making.


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