What is IFA?

Sören Hornof
Updated June 13, 2024
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Question

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

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.

By the way, we’ve recorded a step-by-step walkthrough video of how to get a MDR UDI from IFA, so take a look:

And we also have an MDR UDI overview article which might be interesting for you.

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.

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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