Implementing WHODrug

WHODrug Global is now available in Chinese as well as English.

Dictionary file structure

WHODrug Global is available in two formats: CSV (encoded in UTF-8, with full Unicode support) or fixed width text files (encoded in ASCII). WHODrug Global Chinese is available in two formats: CSV or fixed width text files. Both types are encoded in UTF-8 and offer full Unicode support. Both English and Chinese dictionary language versions share the same structure. These files can be accessed by the designated delivery user in the download area.

How to implement the files

WHODrug data is provided as a file package independent of any specific database system; file descriptions are available for both WHODrug Global and WHODrug Global Chinese, to explain the relationship between the dictionary’s different files and the meaning of the various fields.

With the support of these file descriptions, WHODrug data can be mapped for use in an in-house database system. Alternatively, the data can be imported directly into other electronic data capture (EDC) systems, adverse event database systems and concomitant medication coding tools that are available on the market. A list of software systems approved within the WHODrug Vendor Programme is provided here.

Vendors of software systems considering supporting WHODrug Global are encouraged to enrol in the WHODrug Vendor Programme. This allows commercial software systems to be approved, giving them a “stamp of approval” that they can handle and display WHODrug Global data accurately within their systems. Read more here.

We encourage all organisations that use their own in-house database system to complete the WHODrug Vendor Programme, to ensure that their system accurately displays the WHODrug Data. Read more information here.

If you are using a commercial software system, 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 Vendor Programme, please email us at

Last modified on: February 22, 2024