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Appendix 1 - Glossary of Terms

Area Prescribing Committee (APC) - a strategic committee where healthcare professionals and managers from primary and secondary care member organisations work together to ensure a consistent high quality and cost-effective use of medicines across Hertfordshire and West Essex integrated health care system (ICS). 

Bioavailability - is the degree to which, or the rate at which, a medicine or other substance is absorbed or becomes available at the targeted place in the body.

BNF – British National Formulary – this is a reference source for up-to-date guidance on prescribing, dispensing and administering of medicines. It reflects current best practice as well as legal and professional guidelines relating to the uses of medicines.

Brand Name – this is the name given to a medicine by the manufacturer for marketing purposes. The name is often chosen to be memorable for advertising, or to be easier to say or spell than the generic name! Some medicines may have more than one brand name.

CD – Controlled drug.

Integrated care system (ICS) - is a partnership of organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up health and care services, and to improve the lives of people who live and work in their area.

Drugs and Therapeutics Committee (DTC) - a Committee within the Trust whose main function is to operate a system to evaluate new or existing medicines and control their introduction or removal for use within in the Trust. This system will take into full account safety, efficacy and cost of any medicine that is being considered.

Formulary - list of medicines that have been approved the Drugs and Therapeutics Committee.

Generic Name - this is the approved name for a medicine (drug). Every medicine has an approved (generic) name.

Marketing authorisation – (previously known as product licence) manufacturers of medicines must obtain authorisation from the medicines regulator before a medicine can be legally placed on the market. The UK regulator is the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

NICE - National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. From 1st April 2013 will be a Non-Departmental Public Body. Originally set up to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care - the so called ‘postcode lottery'. See NICE website for further information.

NICE Technology Appraisals (TAs) - are recommendations on the use of new and existing medicines and treatments within the NHS in England and Wales.

Orodispersible tablets - these are tablets that are designed to dissolve or disintegrate on the tongue rather than being swallowed whole.

Primary Care - refers to services provided by GP practices, dental practices, community pharmacies and high street optometrists.

Shared care arrangements/protocol – an agreement which outlines ways in which the responsibilities for managing the prescribing of a medicine can be shared between the specialist and a primary care prescriber.

Special order medicines - these are unlicensed medicines made to meet the needs of an individual patient.

Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) - an SPC explains what a medicine can be used for, as well other specific information such as how to prescribe and administer a medicine and the likely side-effects. It is available for each medicine that has received UK marketing authorisation. It is used by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists. SPCs are written and updated by pharmaceutical companies and are based on their research and product knowledge. The SPC is then checked and approved by the UK or European medicines licensing agency.

Unlicensed medicine – this is a medicine which does not have marketing authorisation in the UK.


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