Differentiation of Hospital Formulary and Drug List

Differentiation of Hospital Formulary and Drug List

There is a common tendency to use the terms ‘formulary and drug list’ synonymously or interchangeably. This is not correct, because there exists a vast difference in the scope and preparation of a formulary over a drug list. 

A formulary usually lists therapeutic agents by their generic names followed by information on strength, form, posology, toxicology, uses and recommended quantity to be dispensed. A drug list on the other hand usually consists of a listing of therapeutic agents by their generic names followed by data on strength and form, there may or may not be any additional information although some drug lists may provide the prescriber with recommended quantities to be dispensed. 

Thus, it will be observed that a formulary is the more informative publication and may exert an influential role in the educational aspects of drug therapy particularly in hospitals with active internees and residency training programs and a school of nursing. If the formulary is to be prepared, whether a private formulary for the hospital or to subscribe to the perpetual drug monograph service such as the National Formulary of India. Both types have their advantages. 

Table.1: Comparisons between Private Formulary and National Formulary 

Private Formulary

National Formulary

1. It is prepared by the hospital's own clinical staff.

1. It is prepared by the nation’s outstanding clinicians, pharmacologists, and pharmacists.


2. The information given under each monograph is subject to local needs. It may include related clinical matters.

2, Each monograph contains physical and chemical properties, pharmacological responses, uses, toxicology, posology,  preparation, and contraindications.


3. It is published in a more convenient size and format.

3, Since there are too many drugs, the size of a formulary is big.


4. Drugs may be added or deleted with greater frequency.

4. Drugs are added or deleted with less frequency.



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