WHO International Working Group for Drug Statistics Methodology
In 1996, when the decision on globalizing the ATC/DDD system was taken, the WHO Division of Drug Management and Policies established the WHO International Working Group for Drug Statistics Methodology. The International Working Group comprises 12 members drawn from the WHO Expert Advisory Panels for Drug Evaluation and for Drug Policies and Management. The International Working Group members are selected by WHO Headquarters to represent a wide range of geographical and professional backgrounds, including clinical pharmacology, clinical medicine, international public health, drug utilization and drug regulation. The members of the International Working Group represent different users of the ATC/DDD system and different nationalities as they represent the 6 WHO global regions. The WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology receives expert advice from the Working Group.
Meetings of the International Working Group are private and members are required to complete a WHO declaration of interest form before the meeting.
The main terms of reference of the Working Group are:
- To continue the scientific development of the ATC/DDD system.
- To discuss and approve all new ATC codes, DDD assignments and alterations to existing ATC codes and DDDs.
- To develop further the use of the ATC/DDD system as an international standard for drug utilization studies.
- To revise as necessary the guidelines for assignment and change of ATC codes and DDDs.
- To revise as necessary the procedures for applications for assignment of and changes to ATC codes and DDDs to ensure they are consistent and transparent.
- To assess the sources and availability of statistics on drug use internationally, and to encourage the systematic collection of comprehensive drug use statistics in all countries and regions using the ATC/DDD system as the international standard.
- To develop methods, manuals and guidelines for the practical application and appropriate use of the ATC/DDD system in drug utilization studies in a variety of settings, particularly those applicable to developing countries.
- To work with groups involved in rational drug use initiatives to integrate methods for measurement of drug use in assessing needs and outcomes of interventions with the aim of improving drug use.
The International Working Group meets twice annually. A teleconference may replace one of the two annual meetings.
Meetings of the International Working Group are private and members are required to complete a WHO declaration of interest form before the meeting. Observers from the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Utilization Research & Clinical Pharmacological Services and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association are also invited to attend the meetings of the International Working Group.
An open session is held prior to one of the semi-annual meetings to which any interested party can register (see further information below). Decision-making parts of meetings of the International Working Group will continue to be held in private.
Decisions on ATC classification or DDD assignment are published on the website of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology and in the publication WHO Drug Information. Any decision on a new or revised ATC classification or DDD assignment is first published as temporary. Any interested party wishing to dispute this decision is invited to comment within a specified deadline after its publication. If there are no objections to a temporary decision, then it will be published as a final decision and implemented in the next issue of the ATC classification index with DDDs. If there is an objection then the decision will be reconsidered at the next meeting of the International Working Group. If a new decision is taken at the second meeting, the new decision will be published as temporary and will be open to comments similar to the first decision. WHO has the final responsibility for any decisions to be taken and any dispute arising in the course of this work must be referred to WHO for final resolution.
Last updated: 2009-11-19