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 ATC Code - The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification System code. In the ATC classification system, drugs are divided into different groups according to the organ or system on which they act and their chemical, pharmacological and therapeutic properties. Drugs are classified into groups at five different levels: 
  • 1st level - drugs are divided into one of the following fourteen anatomical groups (one numeric character). The first level of the code is based on a letter e.g. “A” Alimentary tract and metabolism. 
 Alimentary tract and metabolism
 Blood and blood forming organs
 Cardiovascular system
 Genito-urinary system and sex hormones
 Systemic hormonal preparations, excluding sex hormones and insulin
 Anti-infectives for systemic use
 Antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents
 Musculo-skeletal system
 Nervous system
 Antiparasitic products, insecticides and repellents
 Veterinary drugs
 Respiratory system
 Sensory organs
  • 2nd level - is a pharmacological/therapeutic subgroup (two numeric characters).
  • 3rd and 4th levels - are chemical/pharmacological/therapeutic subgroups (two alpha characters).
  • 5th level - is the subgroup for the chemical substance (two numeric characters).

Active Ingredient - The substance in the medicinal product that is pharmaceutically active.

Borderline substances  - Mainly foodstuffs, such as enteral feeds and foods that are specially formulated for people with medical conditions, but also include some toiletries e.g. sun blocks for use by people with conditions such as photodermatosis.

Department - The use of certain medicinal products may be restricted to particular wards or areas within the hospital. Requests originating from these areas do not require endorsement by a consultant. 

Disease Category - Classifies medicinal products according to the clinical indications, related to a particular system of the body or to an aspect of medical care. 

Dosage Form and Strength - Describes the physical form and the amount of the active ingredient in the medicinal product.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) - The systematic evaluation of properties, effects, and/or impacts of health technology. It is a multidisciplinary process to evaluate the medical, social, economic, organizational and ethical issues of a health intervention or health technology.

Medicinal Product - Any substance or combination of substances presented for treating or preventing disease in human beings, as well as any substance or combination of substances which may be administered to human beings with a view to making a medical diagnosis, or to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions in human beings. 

New Medicinal Product - A medicinal product which is not included/covered by the current version of the list of medicines available within the National Health Services including:

  • a medicinal product which is not included on the Formulary
  • a medicinal product whose therapeutic group is listed on the list of medicines available within the National Health Services but this medicine is not covered by the current specifications
  • a medicinal product which is listed on the list of medicines available within the National Health Services but which is requested for indications other than those for which it is being requested.

Pink Card Positive - Refers to the medicinal products, together with the accompanying prescribing criteria, which can be issued to patients in possession of a Pink Card (Schedule II Card) for conditions not covered by Schedule V of the Social Security Act.  Pink card positive drugs are classified into acute (A), chronic (C) and both acute and chronic use (B).

(A) – Items for Acute Use
Medicines are classified as (A) for conditions where treatment should have a rapid onset and is of short duration.
(C) – Items for Chronic Use
Medicines are classified as being for chronic use if they are utilized for the treatment of an ongoing or recurring condition.
(B) – Items for Both Acute and Chronic use
Medicines which can be used for both acute and chronic use according to the condition.


Pink Card Prescriber Criteria - The category of medical practitioners allowed prescribing of a particular Pink Card positive medicinal product for Pink Card entitlement.

Protocol - Certain medicinal products are further regulated with a medicine protocol. These are marked with a number e.g. MP 177. Medicine protocols outline the restricted use of a medicinal product as approved within the National Health Services. These protocols are applicable both for inpatient as well as for outpatient prescribing. The prescription of a medicinal product with a medicine protocol requires a Request for Protocol-Regulated Medicines for the respective medicinal products. If treatment is to be continued on an outpatient basis, the Request Form for the supply of Free Drugs in terms of Schedule V (Part II) of Social Security Act needs to be filled in accordingly.

Schedule V Entitlement - The Schedule V condition/s for which the medicinal product can be issued via Schedule V entitlement according to the Fifth Schedule of the Social Security Act.

Schedule V Prescriber Criteria - The category of medical practitioners allowed initiating treatment of a particular medicinal product for Schedule V Card entitlement.