International Nonproprietary Names (INN) for Pharmaceutical Substances. Names for Radicals, Groups and Others. Comprehensive List, 2012
(2012; 80 pages)


The World Health Organization (WHO) has a constitutional responsibility to "develop, establish and promote international standards with respect to biological, pharmaceutical and similar products". The International Nonproprietary Names (INN) Programme is a core activity embedded in the normative functions of WHO and has served the global public health and medicines community for over sixty years. The Programme was established to assign nonproprietary names to pharmaceutical substances so that each substance would be recognized by a unique name. Such names are needed for the clear identification, safe prescription and dispensing of medicines, and for communication and exchange of information among health professionals. INNs can be used freely because they are in the public domain. In addition to being a basic component of many WHO medicines activities and programmes, INNs are used in regulatory and administrative processes in many countries. They are also intended for use in pharmacopoeias, labelling, and product information and to provide standardized terminology for the international exchange of scientific information...

Further information on the selection procedure and general principles in devising INNs may be found in the "Guidelines on the Use of International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) for Pharmaceutical Substances" (WHO/PHARM S/NOM 1570) available on the INN Programme website at:

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