Essential medicines and health products

International Nonproprietary Names

Guidance on the use of International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) for pharmaceutical substances (2017)


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 4856/5853


66th INN consultation

The 66th Consultation on International Nonproprietary Names (INN) for Pharmaceutical Substances will take place from:
1-4 May 2018.

Deadlines for submissions:
New INN requests
Friday, 2nd February 2018.

Early submissions are encouraged and welcome.
Outstanding INN requests
Friday, 26th January 2018.

Countdown requests for 66th INN Consultation : 0 request available!

The counter for new requests will start on January 2nd 2018.

Training course on INN 2018 (to be confirmed)

Deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI) to be confirmed

INN Session with INN stakeholders (on 1st May 2018)

Deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI), LoP and presentations on 30th March 2018

INN publications

School of INN

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