Postal address:
WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
P.O.Box 4404 Nydalen
0403 Oslo

Visiting/delivery address:
Marcus Thranes gate 6
0473 Oslo

Tel:  +47 21 07 81 60

Purpose of the ATC/DDD system

The purpose of the ATC/DDD system is to serve as a tool for drug utilization monitoring and research in order to improve quality of drug use.  One component of this is the presentation and comparison of drug consumption statistics at international and other levels.

A major aim of the Centre and Working Group is to maintain stable ATC codes and DDDs over time to allow trends in drug consumption to be studied without the complication of frequent changes to the system.  There is a strong reluctance to make changes to classifications or DDDs where such changes are requested for reasons not directly related to drug consumption studies.  For this reason the ATC/DDD system by itself is not suitable for guiding decisions about reimbursement, pricing and therapeutic substitution. 

It is essential that a tool for drug utilization monitoring and research is able to cover most medicines available on the market. An important aim of drug utilization is to monitor rational as well as irrational drug use as an important step in improving the quality of drug use.  The classification of a substance in the ATC/DDD system is therefore not a recommendation for use and it does not imply any judgements about efficacy or relative efficacy of drugs and groups of drugs.










Last updated: 2018-02-07