Guidelines on the Use of International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) for Pharmaceutical Substances
(1997; 41 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
Close this folder1. General introduction
View the document1.1 General information on the INN system
View the document1.2 Use of INNs
Open this folder and view contents2. Elements in the INN system
Open this folder and view contents3. Principles for selection of INNs
View the document4. Protection of INNs
Open this folder and view contents5. How to apply for an INN
View the document6. References for supporting material
View the documentAnnex 1: Background information on the INN programme
View the documentAnnex 2: General principles for guidance in devising international nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances
View the documentAnnex 3: List of common stems used in the selection of INNs
View the documentAnnex 4: Specific groups of biological compounds
View the documentAnnex 5: WHA46.19 - Nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances
View the documentAnnex 6: Procedure for the selection of international nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances
View the documentAnnex 7: Applications for INNs through national authorities (addresses)
View the documentAnnex 8: INN request form
 

1.2 Use of INNs

Nonproprietary names are intended for use in pharmacopoeias, labelling, product information, advertising and other promotional material, drug regulation and scientific literature, and as a basis for product names, e.g. for generics. Their use is normally required by national or, as in the case of the European Community, by international legislation. As a result of ongoing collaboration, national names such as British Approved Names (BAN), Dénominations Communes Françaises (DCF), Japanese Adopted Names (JAN) and United States Accepted Names (USAN) are nowadays, with rare exceptions, identical to the INNs.

Some countries have defined the minimum size of characters in which the generic nonproprietary name must be printed under the trade-mark labelling and advertising. In several countries the generic name must appear prominently in type at least half the size of that used for the proprietary or brand-name. In some countries it has to appear larger than the trade-mark name. Certain countries have even gone so far as to abolish trade-marks within the public sector.

To avoid confusion, which could jeopardize the safety of patients, trade-marks cannot be derived from INNs and, in particular, must include their common stems. As already mentioned the selection of further names within a series will be seriously hindered by the use of a common stem in a brand-name.

 

to previous section
to next section
 
 
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: November 5, 2014