The WMF could serve as a model for the structure, content and depth of information provided in a NF. However, depending on the intended audience and purpose of the NF, substantial differences will still exist between countries with regard to inclusion of local drug policies, synopses of national guidelines and locally collected information on medicines. Therefore, the NFC and the editors should clearly define these attributes of the formulary and identify the procedures necessary to achieve them.
Important structural and formatting decisions regarding classification, indexing, number of sections, technicality of language, etc. will need to be made early in the drafting process. The development of a NF can be greatly facilitated by the extensive adoption of WMF structures and content. Clearly the intended purpose of a NF will strongly influence whether the NF will be a slim, compact drug handbook or a more substantial and comprehensive drug reference book. However, a balance will have to be struck between including all possible information and producing a manageable volume for everyday use. It is useful to look at other published formularies at this planning stage to obtain helpful ideas.
Developing a small “pilot” draft section of the formulary based on the WMF and discussing content and format issues again before the entire draft is developed can be a useful way to save editorial time and make production of the draft consistent.