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Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Code

The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Code (ATC Code) has been in force since 1976 and is a coding system for the classification of drugs. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices is responsible for publishing the official version as well as the defined daily doses. An active pharmaceutical ingredient is classified according to the organ on which it acts and based on the different groupings. Further, the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Code distinguises into five different groups, which result in the drug code by a letter-number-combination:

  • An anatomical group is represented as a letter
  • The main therapeutic group consists of 2 digits
  • A therapeutic / pharmacological subgroup is also expressed as a letter
  • The chemical / therapeutic / pharmacological subgroup is also represented by means of letters
  • A subgroup of the chemical substance is identified in the code by two digits

Furthermore, each active ingredient is assigned a defined daily dose based on the average daily supply for adults. The classification of drugs makes it possible to provide uniform information on the costs of daily therapies. Furthermore, it simplifies direct comparison between pharmaceutical preparations.

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