Anatomical, Therapeutical Chemical classification system for medicines


There are many situations where a classification system (not just an identification system) for medicines is needed. And many countries have such a system. The problem is the lack of an international standard. Or rather, the standard is there, but it is not being used by several of the most important countries and institutions/companies in the pharmaceutical world.



Anatomical, Therapeutical Chemical drug classification system is developed and maintained by the WHO Collaborating Centre of Drug Statistics Methodology, Norway. A hierarchical, 5-level system, where the fifth level is the chemical substance.

I presented a poster about ATC at the FIP congress in Nice 2002.

A working group or forum is formed with basis in the Pharmacy Information Section of FIP. The intention is to make FIP issue a statement on the need of a globally accepted and used classification system for medicines. As part of this work a background paper is being produced. The latest version can be seen here.

I published an article about ATC in European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy EJHP Vol 14, 2008/3 page 11