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About Pharmacode title

Pharmacode (also known as the Laetus code) is a binary code, used in the pharmaceutical industry as a packing control system. It has single-track and double-track varieties and there are regular and mini options.

Our software only supports single-track regular and mini options.

Single track pharmacodes consist of 2 to 16 bars which can be either wide bars or narrow bars. It can be printed in multiple colors as a check to ensure that the remainder of the packaging is correctly printed.

Regular Pharmacode graphic 2 track image Pharmacode Mini image
Regular Pharmacode 2-track Pharmacode Mini Pharmacode


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System Requirements:
Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, 200, XP
Mac OS 10.14 all the way back to OS 10.8


Pharmacode can represent only a single integer from 3 to 131070. Unlike other commonly used one-dimensional barcode schemes, pharmacode does not store the data in a form corresponding to human-readable digits; the number is encoded in binary, rather than decimal.

Pharmacode is read from right to left with the bar position starting at 0 on the right.

The bar in position 0 can represent either 1 (wide bar) or 2 (narrow bar).

The next bar to the left is position 1 and can encode 4 (wide) or 2 (narrow), and so on.

The minimum length is 2 bars and the maximum 16, so the smallest number that could be encoded is 3 (2 narrow bars) and the biggest is 131070 (16 wide bars). For maximum reliability, it is recommended not to use codes of less than three bars, as well as to use at least one narrow bar and one wide one in each code.

Pharmacode can be decoded using the following procedure:
The number represented by the code will be equal to the addition of the values of the bars that compose the code.
The value of each bar depends on the type (wide or narrow) of the bar and its position in the code.

Table showing values for PharmacodeBars

Image showing how Pharmacode bars are numbered.

The code on the left represents the value 91.
Here's how we decode it:

Bar 0 is narrow so the value is 1
Bar 1 is narrow so the value is 2
Bar 2 is wide so the value is 8
Bar 3 is wide so the value is 16
Bar 4 is wide so the value is 32
Bar 5 is narrow so the value is 32



Pharmacodes can be composed of bars of different colors. This may be desireable in cases where important information is printed in more than one color.

By using all of the important colors within the code, press errors such as a plate lifting or an ink duct running out will be detected when the pharmacode is scanned.

Depending on the capabilities of the scanner, some color combinations may not be suitable. Some scanners use red light which means that colours which appear light in red light (red, orange, yellow, etc.) would not be suitable bar colors.

Other scanners may use a different color light or may be capable of detecting a wider range of colors. It is always recommended that you check the capabilities of the scanners to be used before deciding on the use of non-black bars.

An image of a multicolor pharmacode.