The NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d)
has been developed and delivered through a partnership between NHS
Connecting for Health and the NHS Business Services Authority.
The dm+d provides a unique product
identifier for medicines and devices used in primary and secondary care.
Using this unique identifier will facilitate more efficient processing and
reimbursement of prescriptions, electronic Prescribing and the electronic
Patient Record. The coding also provides substantial opportunities in audit
The dm+d is a subset of SNOMED CT
(Systemised Nomenclature of Medicine) and thus is recognised as an NHS
The two important elements of the dm+d
products as concepts (called virtual medicinal products or VMP) e.g. atenolol
50mg tablets or latex catheter 20 gauge
and real products (called actual medicinal products or AMP) e.g. atenolol 50 mg
tablets made by AAH pharmaceuticals or Tenormin LS 50 mg tablets from AstraZeneca
Each of these elements can be expressed as packs as well e.g. atenolol 50mg
tablets 28 pack (called a virtual medicinal product pack or VMPP). If we add
the manufacturer we can now get a real world pack (called Actual Medicinal
How is this used? An example would be where a GP wants to prescribe atenolol to
his patient. On his computer he would identify the virtual medicinal product
pack, atenolol 50mg tablets, 28 pack. This would be written on the
prescription. Note that he has not specified a manufacturer.
On receiving the prescription the pharmacist would fill it with the version of
the product he has available e.g. atenolol 50mg tablet, 28 pack made by AAH
Pharmaceuticals. This would be the actual medicinal product pack, AMPP, and
would allow the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), Prescription Services
to know exactly what was dispensed.