Implementing the Dictionaries of WHODrug

The WHODrug data is delivered to subscribers in basic flat file format ASCII text files. This means that the dictionary is independent of any specific database system.

If a company has their own in-house system to use WHODrug, in order to get started, you need to understand the relationship between the dictionary’s different files and the meaning of the various fields. When you have gained a clear idea of the content of WHODrug and how you are intending to use it, by having basic flat file format ASCII text files, you can map the data for use in the database system of choice at your company. Alternatively, the WHO Drug data can be imported directly into various Electronic Data Capture (EDC) systems, Adverse Event database systems and Concomitant Medication Coding tools that are available in the marketplace.

The WHODrug Software Certification Programme allows commercial software systems to be certified, giving them a “stamp of approval” that they handle and showcase WHODrug data accurately within their respective systems. A list of certified vendors’ software systems is provided here.

If you are not using a commercially available system, we encourage all companies that use their own systems to complete the WHODrug Software Certification Programme to ensure their system accurately showcases the WHODrug Data.

If you are using a commercial software package, and you have questions about the software itself, please contact your system provider. If you have any technical questions related to File Format, the dictionary files or any questions related to the WHODrug Software Certification Programme, please email us at

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Last modified on: August 7, 2018