The EphMRA classification system
The ATC classification system was originally based on the same main principles as the Anatomical Classification (AC-system) developed by the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association (EphMRA) and the Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence and Research Group (PBIRG).
In the EphMRA system drugs are classified in groups at three or four different levels. The ATC classification system is modified and extended from the EphMRA system by the addition of a therapeutic/pharmacological/chemical subgroup as the fourth level and a chemical substance subgroup as the fifth level.
Since 1991 there has been a consultation between the EphMRA classification committee and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology in order to achieve a better harmonisation between the two systems. It should be emphasised that there are many differences between the EPhMRA classification and the ATC classification. This means that data prepared using the ATC classification cannot be directly compared with data prepared using the EphMRA system. The abbreviation ATC is unfortunately also used for the EphMRA classification, which can cause confusion.
The EphMRA classification system is used worldwide by IMS Health in producing marketing research statistics for the pharmaceutical industry.
Last updated: 2009-11-19