Essential medicines and health products

International Nonproprietary Names

International Nonproprietary Names


International Nonproprietary Names (INN) facilitate the identification of pharmaceutical substances or active pharmaceutical ingredients. Each INN is a unique name that is globally recognized and is public property. A nonproprietary name is also known as a generic name.


WHO has a constitutional mandate to "develop, establish and promote international standards with respect to biological, pharmaceutical and similar products".

The World Health Organization collaborates closely with INN experts and national nomenclature committees to select a single name of worldwide acceptability for each active substance that is to be marketed as a pharmaceutical. To avoid confusion, which could jeopardize the safety of patients, trade-marks should neither be derived from INNs nor contain common stems used in INNs. The selection and publication of INNs falls under the responsibility of the EMP/RHT/TSN team of the INN Programme.


Requesting an INN

Selection process of INNs
To apply for a new INN, please use the online application form
To select an appropriate stem

Published INN Lists

INN and Biologicals

All INN publications

Online access to INN data

Promotion of INN and collaborations



For information on INN, please contact the

Dr R. Balocco Mattavelli
World Health Organization
1211 Geneva 27
Fax: +41 22 791 47 30


60th INN consultation

The 60th Consultation on International Nonproprietary Names (INN) for Pharmaceutical Substances will take place from:
13-15 April 2015.

Deadlines for submissions:
New INN requests
Thursday, 5th February 2015.

Early submissions are encouraged and welcome.
Outstanding INN requests
Thursday, 22th January 2015.

Countdown requests for 60th INN Consultation : 0 requests still available!

(counter closed!!)

Training course on INN - 2015 (on 29th January 2015)

Deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI) on 5th January 2015

Open Sessions with INN stakeholders (on 13th April 2015)

Deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI), LoP and presentations on 27th February 2015

Biological Qualifier Comments Review:
Front page meeting with INN stakeholders (16 June 2015)

Deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI) (to be confirmed)

INN publications

Contact information
World Health Organization
International Nonproprietary Names
20 Avenue Appia
1211, Geneva 27
Tel: +41 22 791 1249
Fax: +41 22 791 4730