Book the date of the next UNICOM Community of Expertise on how substances are identified and classified in the pharmaceutical domain

Substance identification using INN and ATC – governance, use, and relation to IDMP

August 27 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm CEST

International Non-proprietary Names (INN) facilitate the identification of substances such as active pharmaceutical ingredients. Each INN is a unique name that is globally recognized and placed and maintained by the World Health Organization in the public domain.

The ATC Classification (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical) provides a hierarchical classification of drugs with therapeutic, pharmacological and chemical groups. The ATC/DDD methodology is the WHO recommended standard for international drug utilization monitoring and research and is maintained by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology, in Oslo. It links to INN at the most detailed level, whenever possible. Currently, ATC is also used extensively in prescribing and dispensing systems, including cross-border ePrescribing.

In the domain of IDMP, substances are defined and identified according EN ISO 11238; implementation in Europe is progressing under the leadership of EMA.

What is the relation between INN, ATC and substance identification according to IDMP? For the identification of substances, IDMP relies on data available in the Global Substance Registration System (GSRS). Its European counterpart EU-SRS is being implemented, supported by UNICOM WP 2, where an important data cleansing work is in progress.

The presentations will focus on the background, purpose, and governance of each of these identification and classification systems as well as their linkage. The discussion will also address how their use outside the originally defined scope may have consequences and limitations for the correct use of medicinal products across the countries.


Dr Rafaella Balocco (WHO, Geneva )

Christian Lie Berg (UNICOM WP 1, WHO-DSM, Oslo )


Antonio Romeo (WHO)

Robert Vander Stichele (UNICOM WP 1, i~HD)

Olof Lagerlund (UNICOM WP 1, WHO-UMC)


Christian Hay (UNICOM WP 1, GS1 and ISO TC 215/WG6)

Robert Stegwee (UNICOM WP 1, CEN TC 251)

The webinar will be recorded and published on the UNICOM-project YouTube channel