Term: Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Drug Classification System

Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2013-10-30


A drug classification system widely used for research purposes. The drugs are divided into different groups at five levels according to the organ or system on which they act and/or therapeutic and chemical characteristics:

  1. anatomical group;
  2. therapeutic main group;
  3. therapeutic/pharmacological subgroup;
  4. chemical/therapeutic/pharmacological subgroup; and
  5. subgroup for chemical substance.
ATC classifications are available online from the World Health Organization (WHO), and are updated and published once a year by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology. See the WHO On-line ATC / DDD Index: http://www.whocc.no/atc_ddd_index/ .

The ATC Drug Classification system is a component of the Health Canada Drug Product Database. See the Health Canada Web Site on the Drug Product Database (DPD): http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodpharma/databasdon/index-eng.php for more information.

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