NPDUIS Database

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Plan Information Document

About the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System Database


The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) developed the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) Database in consultation with the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). 

The NPDUIS Database, managed by CIHI’s Pharmaceuticals department, contains de-identified prescription claims-level data, collected from publicly financed drug benefit programs in Canada. In addition, the database contains supporting information to provide context for the drug claims data including Formulary and Drug Products information and policy information regarding public drug plan administration.

The CIHI NPDUIS Database Advisory Group will serve as CIHI’s primary conduit for providing advice regarding the ongoing operational needs of the database including: identifying system improvements needed to address evolving data requirements; sharing database activities including requests for data; system enhancements; data quality and the development of comparative data provider reports that are relevant, useful and informative.


  • Meeting the need

Between 1985 and 2005, drugs had become an increasingly significant factor in the status of the Canadian health care system. By 2005, drug spending had increased by 514%, with the majority of spending on prescribed drugs. At that time, comparable information on drug coverage, public drug plan formularies and drug utilization was not available. It is for this reason that CIHI’s NPDUIS Database is so timely and relevant.

  • Timeline


CIHI launched the NPDUIS Database in 2006 to provide:

    • Access to standardized information on prescription drug use and costs from across jurisdictions;
    • Information that will facilitate informed management of drug plans;
    • Information that will support exploration and analysis of interplay among plan design, formulary listings and drug utilization;
    • Analysis on the impact of policy decisions on utilization;
    • Trends on utilization over time and across jurisdictions; and
    • New knowledge through analytic studies.
  • Project Document Archives

Project documents prepared under the auspices of the Prescription Drug Utilization Standards and Reporting System (PDUSRS):

To access historic NPDUIS documents, please contact us at

Privacy and Data Quality

  • Privacy

Data disclosure is determined by CIHI's privacy principles and policies. The NPDUIS Database privacy impact assessment demonstrates that its practices comply with these principles and policies. The NPDUIS Database privacy impact assessment will be reassessed to accommodate the expansion of the NPDUIS into the private sector.

  • Data Quality

Through its Data Quality Enhancement Program, CIHI strives to ensure that the quality of the information in our data holdings is suited to its intended uses, and that data users are provided good information about data quality.


The NPDUIS Database design is flexible, allowing for change as stakeholder information needs evolve. The NPDUIS Database includes the following data:

  • Claims data consisting of cost and payment information in relation to prescribed drugs. This information is used to measure and analyze the pattern of drugs use in Canada.
  • Formulary data that identify how drugs are included on public drug programs in Canada.
  • Drug Product data used to identify drug products in a standardized format.
  • Plan Information provides an outline of a variety of administrative policies of the federal, provincial and territorial public drug plans or programs that may explain differences in drug utilization patterns across the country.

Download a printable copy of the NPDUIS information sheet (PDF).

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