What is IFA?


What is IFA? And what does it have to do with UDIs?

Short Answer

IFA is a three-letter powerhouse that sounds more like a football association, but it is actually a global manager of product data. IFA stands for “Informationsstelle für Arzneispezialitäten” (Information center for medicinal products). It is a issuing agency from Germany and you can use their unique numbers as your UDI.

Long Answer

While you’re gathering your motivation to read yet another article on regulation, let me jump in briefly! We’ve actually recorded a video on this topic in the meantime. In our videos, we try to be to-the-point and super concrete, so you’ll learn exactly what you need to write your own documentation. Check it own below and take a look for yourself!

And if you liked this video, take a look at our UDI video course in which you can watch us literally purchasing UDIs at GS1 and IFA. We explain what we’re doing and how you can get your UDIs, too! Much more efficient and cheaper than paying consultants (like us) to do it for you 🙂

But now, let’s move on to the actual article.

Originally, IFA provides PZN numbers for medicines sold in German pharmacies. However, their PZNs can be converted into PPNs (Pharmacy Product Numbers) which are internationally recognized and serve as UDI-DIs for medical devices. If you want to sell your medical devices in German pharmacies, you have the advantage that you already have the PZN for that if you got your UDI from IFA.

The PPN is essentially the PZN (Pharmazentralnummer) with a preceding “11” and an appended check character pair. Using the IFA coding system also allows you to generate a “BUDI”, as they call their Basic UDI-DI numbers, and a “HPC” (Health Product Code). The HPC can be used as a UDI-DI if the product will not be made available on the German pharmacy market. HPCs are assigned by the manufacturers themselves.

More information about how to get your UDI from IFA can be found in our Video course about UDIs. Check it out!

On a slighty different note: You want to get your medical software certified under MDR but don’t know where to start? No worries! That’s why we built the Wizard. It’s a self-guided video course which helps you create your documentation yourself. No prior knowledge required. You should check it out.

Or, if you’re looking for the most awesome (in our opinion) eQMS software to manage your documentation, look no further. We’ve built Formwork, and it even has a free version!

If you’re looking for human help, did you know that we also provide consulting? We’re a small company, so we can’t take on everyone – but maybe we have time for your project? We guide startups from start to finish in their medical device compliance.


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