Information for NSW Health trading partners

Unprecedented in the Australian health care industry, Australia’s Federal, State and Territory health departments have signed up to access their public health supply product and pricing information from the National Product Catalogue (NPC), aligning with other industries such as Apparel, Book and Publishing, Food and Beverages, Food Services, Liquor, General Merchandise, Greenlife, Hardware and Auto, Healthcare, Hospitals, Rail, Trade and Transport.

According to the Australian Digital Health Agency, the NPC is a single mechanism to communicate standardised and accurate product and price data electronically to Australian health departments and private hospital providers.

  • Accurate Data = Accurate Procurement
  • Reduced effort for suppliers in collating data for tenders
  • All state and territory health departments reference NPC data to purchase
  • Increasingly private healthcare providers are using the NPC
  • Overall data management time for suppliers and buyers is reduced

The NPC records important supply chain and clinical information such as:

  • Product components;
  • Pack sizes;
  • Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) risk classification; and
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or RPBS notification and Prostheses Rebate Code.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is ADHA?

Tasked with improving health outcomes for Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems and the national digital health strategy for Australia, the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) commenced operations on 1 July 2016. The Agency is responsible for all national digital health services and systems, with a focus on engagement, innovation and clinical quality and safety. ADHA focus is on putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them.

Established as a statutory authority in the form of a corporate Commonwealth entity, the Agency reports to State and Territory Health Ministers through the COAG Health Council.

The 2015-16 Federal Budget announcement My Health Record - A New Direction for Electronic Health Records in Australia provided funding to strengthen eHealth governance arrangements consistent with the Review. This included the transition of relevant activities and resources from the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), and also from the national My Health Record system operation activities managed by the Department of Health, to a new entity called the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Who is GS1?

GS1 International has nearly one million members worldwide, spanning 145 countries and 24 industry sectors. All GS1 organisations are not-for-profit. GS1 Australia is the Australian member of the global network, locally hosting and administering the NPC as commissioned by ADHA.

Who has NPC Access?

To access the NPC membership to GS1 Australia and registration to the NPC is required.

What are the high level benefits of the NPC?

  • Improved medications management (for example, standardised, unique product identification allows for quicker product recalls and updates of information that may affect patient safety, such as that included in adverse reaction bulletins);
  • Unique and more purposeful product authentication;
  • Greater ability to track and trace products;
  • Automatic integration with the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT); and
  • Efficiency gains across the entire health care supply chain, indicative in the following figures from a prominent study on data synchronisation:

80% reduction in invoice claims - 3%-5% reduction in out of stocks

50% reduction in time to market for new items - 0.5% reduction in inventory

What measures are being undertaking to assist NPC Population?

A number of measures are being undertaken to encourage and support suppliers to populate the NPC. For example, GS1 assigns a Client Services Advisor (CSA) to each company that registers for the NPC. Health jurisdictions have incorporated clauses in their tender documentation to enforce NPC compliance. Jurisdictions are relying on NPC data to progress to e-Procurement.

ADHA is also meeting with major suppliers both individually and as part of an Industry Work Group to provide greater NPC support.

Will this affect pricing agreements?

Yes, visibility of all prices within NSW Health supports the following key points:

  • To support the NSW Procurement Board recommendation of price transparency to facilitate piggy backing in NSW Government agencies.
  • Contract information is subject to GIPA Act 2009, i.e. disclosure of contracts states disclosure of information except confidential information. Confidential information does not include pricing, but it includes cost structure and profit margin.
  • The NSW Health Oracle Financial Management Information System and other support systems were not designed to facilitate confidentiality of prices. Therefore all prices are visible to all system users, whether items are purchasable or not purchasable by users.

When will Public Procurement Bodies be ready to Access the NPC?

The procurement divisions of State, Territory and Federal health departments are able to connect to the NPC now. Departmental representatives meet regularly with ADHA and GS1 to discuss progress and to share information on developments. Each health jurisdiction is investing a considerable amount of time, money and resources into supporting the NPC, and is committed to using it to gain efficient procurement practices.

Will Products Need to be Renumbered or Relabelled? What is a GTIN?

No. There is currently no requirement for the relabelling or over-labelling of those products labelled using a different standard to the one used by the NPC (the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) standard).

The GTIN is the unique and primary product identifier for every NPC record. A GTIN must be assigned to all products (at all levels of packaging) supplied to the public health sector via the NPC. This does not, however, require the physical labelling of the product with a bar code containing the GTIN. Every GTIN will have supply chain data associated with it, and some GTINs will also have associated medicines data. This is part of the medicines component of the NPC (previously ACOM).

The NPC has fields for more than one identifier and, therefore, the capacity to cross reference secondary product identifiers to integrate with existing systems. For example, companies who are currently using the HIBCC product identifier can also load this into the NPC as an additional product identifier.

What is a Global Location Number (GLN)?

A Global Location Number (GLN) is a unique number used to identify companies participating in the supply chain process.

For the purposes of the NPC, the GLN is used to relate vendors to trading partners to control access to commercially sensitive data such as pricing. Public health bodies have allocated a GLN to all entities within its jurisdiction to which a price may apply. GLNs can also be used in conjunction with GTINs to identify data ownership and/or may be used for identifying locations, for purposes such as deliveries.

Why is it Important for Suppliers to Cleanse Data Prior to Uploading it to the NPC?

Clean, reliable and consistent data will ensure the success of the NPC. Substantial savings in time and efficiency will be made because of access to consistent data. For example, savings will be made due to the reduced incorrect ordering of products, illegible purchase orders and delivery errors. This will not eliminate these problems totally but will significantly alleviate the situation. The overall result is improved cost effectiveness and the delivery of significant benefits to governments and suppliers alike.

How will the NPC be updated?

As product information changes, suppliers will update the NPC, thereby ensuring a single source of truth. When these updates are made, electronic messages will be automatically sent to each of their trading partners advising them of changes. This will replace the lengthy, error- prone process of manually sending mail outs and emails of changes to products, prices, etc.

Preparing for the NPC is a lot of work, why do we have to do this?

Publishing data through the NPC benefits both trading partners. It ensures accurate data for an efficient & effective supply chain management, devoid of the costly impact of inaccurate data, such as invoices on hold, wrong deliveries and more importantly it eliminates serious risks to healthcare.

Preparing NPC publication may initially entail a lot of work gathering key product information. However, once established the same information may then be published to public and private Health jurisdictions.

  • We are a small company and supply limited items to NSW Health, do we need to publish product and price information on the NPC?
  • Our products seem out of scope of the NPC, do we need to publish product and price information on the NPC?
  • We are on a NSW Health state contract that list NPC publication as preference only; do we need to publish product and price information on the NPC now?

Yes to all of the above. Concurrent HealthShare NSW interface projects aim to feed procurement data to various systems from a single source, i.e. product and price information from the NPC. These systems are the main NSW Health Oracle Financial Management Information System, Theatre Management Systems, I.Pharmacy and CBORD Food Procurement System.

Therefore NPC publication will ensure accurate data is accessible through the above-mentioned systems.

Is NPC required to respond to a NSW Health state tender?

The NPC is NOT a requirement to respond to a NSW Health state tender.

However, for most health-specific contracts for medical / surgical devices and consumables, the NPC is a mandatory requirement of contract. This requirement incorporates the need to publish contract product and price information to NSW Health via the NPC a month prior to the commencement of the agreement and the need to maintain accuracy of information during the life of the agreement.

Our Distributor is on contract with NSW Health to supply our products, are we required to publish product and price information to NSW Health?

No, your responsibility is to publish product and price information to your distributor, who in turn should publish to NSW Health as part of contract agreement. If your distributor also supply non-contract list priced items on your behalf, they may also publish this data to NSW Health.

You should only publish product and price information to NSW Health, if such items may be procured from your company direct and these are either non-contract items or the contract terms and conditions facilitates the direct procurement of contract items from your company.

After publishing product and price information to NSW Health through the NPC, what happens to this information?

NPC data published to NSW Health are received instantaneously in HealthShare NSW Master Catalogue Information System called “MCIS”.

NPC data in MCIS is then processed or enabled as follows:

  • Enabled for viewing, reporting and reference by Local Health District Clinical Product Specialists through the MCIS Catalogue Web Search module
  • Ready for data administration / processing by Catalogue Services, i.e.
    • Establish link to product images where available
      (separately published, refer product image information kit)
    • Establish link with the Health Item Master File also known as the HIMF
    • Data validation against the official contract product and price schedule
    • Referral to the Sourcing Team for enablement in Oracle FMIS
    • Referral to other appropriate groups for enablement in other systems.

Do Suppliers need to publish NPC contract product and price information only?

Suppliers are encouraged to publish product and price information for both contract and non-contract items. This will ensure state wide product exposure, as well as assist LHD and HealthShare NSW business units in understanding product availabilities.

Suppliers who publish their entire product catalogue (contract and list pricing) ensure optimum product exposure.

Do Suppliers need to map their NPC data to the NSW Health HIMF number?

No, the Health Item Master File or HIMF is a six digit code intended for internal NSW Health use only. The HIMF is progressively cleansed and therefore subject to change.

NSW Health only accepts List and Contract Price in the NPC and not Transaction Price, why?

Transaction price includes freight and handling charges, this is in contrast to contract and list prices that excludes freight and handling charges. NSW Health’s State procurement system processes freight and handling charges separately so NSW Health cannot accept data from the NPC with Transaction Pricing included.

Why does NSW Health need Vendors to publish valid Effective End Dates?

To ensure ongoing data currency and accuracy, the NSW Health System has been configured to disable processing of items that indicate:

  • Blank Effective Price End Dates
  • Expired Effective Price End Dates
  • Price End Dates that is inconsistent with official contract documents.

This is a requirement applicable to both Contract and List Prices. Contract expiry dates must be as stipulated in the Contract deed of agreement, List Price as per the data publisher’s preference (e.g. in 12-18 months from current date).

Who can view NPC product and price information published to NSW Health?

NPC data published to NSW Health may be viewed strictly by appropriate internal NSW Health Staff only, as follows:

Users View TypePurposes

Strategic Procurement, HealthShare NSW:

  • All Category   Officers
  • Corporate   Contracts
  • Supply Chain   Operations




Procurement / accounts payable



Public Health Organisations / Local Health Districts - Clinical Product Specialists / Biomedical Engineers


Reference for provision of clinical procurement advice to LHD Requisitioners

Public Health Organisation / Local Health Districts - Requisitioners


Reference for the requisitioning process

External to NSW Health, Health-specific contract product and pricing information published to NSW Health through the NPC, is made available to NSW Government (NSWBuy) for access by appropriate NSW Government agencies and ACT Health.

What should we do if unable to meet the deadline set for NPC publication?

E-Mail Catalogue Services with your proposed timeline for publication. This information will be recorded and referred to when validating and linking data. Interim data linking and validation processes may be established whilst NPC data is not available.

How are LHD and Hospital negotiated prices published through the NPC?

Prices negotiated by LHD or hospitals within the LHD can be published in the NPC by assigning to Global Location Number assigned to the LHD or hospital.

NSW Health GLN’s are accessible via the national registry of GLN called GS1 Locatenet. Go to

Who is HealthShare NSW?

HealthShare NSW is the largest public sector shared services organisation in Australia. It is a statewide body of more than 6,500 employees who support the delivery of patient care in NSW Health.

HealthShare NSW saves NSW Health around $60 million per annum through:

  • Human resource services such as payroll, employee support and recruitment
  • Financial services such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger and reporting
  • Food and patient support
  • Linen services
  • Procurement
  • EnableNSW, which assists people with a disability to live and participate in the community
  • Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT)

How much does it cost to be an NPC publisher?

To become an NPC publisher, membership and subscription to the NPC is required. Membership is available for both members and non-members of GS1 Australia.

For more information please contact GS1 Australia.

We supply items that are variable according to usage and order specifications, i.e., Theatre Packs and Capital Equipment, how do we apply GTIN to these items?

As this is a broad question, the answer may differ depending on the commodity. GS1 Australia and Catalogue Services can provide guidance specific to the product category.

Our Company does not have a dedicated NPC resource, are there other avenues for assistance in publishing our NPC data?

GS1 Australia offer several options to Vendors who may require assistance, including their Customer Support and Technical Team, NPC Specific Training and Consultancy Services and also a list of GS1 Accredited Solution Providers, please visit GS1 Australia’s Web site for more information.

Where can suppliers get more information about the NPC?

There are a number of useful documents available to assist companies in publishing data to the NPC. A useful start is to visit the following websites or contact any of the following teams:

Australian Digital Health Agency

Help Centre: 1300 901 001

GS1 Australia

GS1 Service Support Team: 1300 BARCODE (1300 277 263)


Catalogue Services, HealthShare NSW
Phone: 1800 822 350

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