Dataset National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS)

National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) 
Data Provider (source):

Canadian Institute for Health Information


The National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) contains pan-Canadian prescription claims-level data, focusing primarily on publicly financed drug benefit programs. The database also contains supporting information for additional context: formulary and drug product information and information on policies of public drug plans in Canada.

Find out more about pharmaceutical care and utilization, including reports and analyses based on NPDUIS data and about our work on problematic prescription drug use.

NPDUIS contains claims and formulary data for public drug programs from 10 provinces/territories. It also contains formulary information from 1 federal drug program.

Claims data is collected from the Yukon and all provinces except Quebec. Formulary data is collected from the Yukon, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and all provinces except Quebec. 

analysis of drug utilization and cost trends. 
Type of Data (select all that apply):
Health Care and Health Services 
Data Collection Method (select all that apply):
Individual Level Data 
See summary section for details 
Identifiers used for linkage:
Personal Health Number, Date of birth 
Access requiredments and conditions for Researchers and Projects:

Data Access Conditions:

  • In addition to the CIHI data access condition below, requests for Quebec data are subject to review and authorization from the Quebec Privacy Commission (Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec) and the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS).
  • CIHI discloses health information and analyses on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians in a manner consistent with its mandate and core functions. These disclosures typically fall into one of four categories:
    • Disclosures to parties with responsibility for the planning and management of the health care system to enable them to fulfill those functions;
    • Disclosures to parties with a decision-making role regarding health care system policy to facilitate their work;
    • Disclosures to parties with responsibility for population health research and/or analysis; and
    • Disclosures to third-party data requesters to facilitate health or health services research and/or analysis.
  • Prior to disclosure, CIHI reviews the requests to ensure that the disclosures are consistent with the above and meet the requirements of applicable legislation.
  • CIHI data disclosures are made at the highest degree of anonymity possible while still meeting the research and/or analytical purposes. This means that, whenever possible, data are aggregated.
  • Where aggregate data are not sufficiently detailed for the research and/or analytical purposes, data that have been de-identified using various de-identification processes may be disclosed to the recipient on a case-by-case basis and where the recipient has entered into a data protection agreement or other legally binding instrument with CIHI.
  • Only those data elements necessary to meet the identified research or analytical purposes may be disclosed.
  • For more information, please reference CIHI’s Privacy Policy:

Requirements for record-level data access:

  • Prior to disclosure, the recipient must sign a data protection agreement or other legally binding instrument that, at a minimum, contains the following requirements:
    • Prohibits re-identifying or contacting the individuals;
    • Prohibits linking the de-identified data unless expressly authorized in writing by CIHI;
    • Limits the purposes for which the de-identified data may be used;
    • Requires that the de-identified data be safeguarded;
    • Limits publication or disclosure to data that do not allow identification of any individual;
    • Requires the destruction of data, as specified;
    • Permits CIHI to conduct on-site privacy audits pursuant to its privacy audit program; and
    • Requires the recipient to comply with any other provision that CIHI deems necessary to further safeguard the data.
  • Prior to the disclosure of de-identified data for research purposes, the requester will provide CIHI with evidence of Research Ethics Board approval.
  • CIHI reserves the right to impose any other requirement(s) as needed on a case-by-case basis in order to maintain the confidentiality of de-identified data.
  • Prior to disclosure, program areas will evaluate the de-identified data to assess and subsequently minimize privacy risks of re-identification and residual disclosure, and to implement the necessary mitigating measures to manage residual risks.
  • CIHI will not disclose de-identified data if it is reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that it could be utilized, either alone or with other information, to identify an individual and that, where it is reasonably foreseeable that it could be used to identify an individual, the information will be treated as personal health information.

Access process:  All data access requests can be initiated at the following CIHI webpage:, and complete an Access Data Inquiry Form.

Phone: 1-613-241-5543 Email: 




Data is available from:
Claims data from NPDUIS is available for up to 12 months from the current month. Availability of historical claims and formulary data varies by jurisdiction, and goes back to 2000 for some provinces. Additional details are available on the NPDUIS website in the Data availability section. 
More Information (including references):

NPDUIS houses pan-Canadian prescription drug claims-level data, focusing primarily on publicly financed drug benefit programs. The database includes the following:

  • Claims data: cost and utilization information on prescribed drugs. This information is used to measure and analyze prescription drug use in Canada.
  • Formulary data: information on which drugs are included in public drug programs in Canada and how they are covered.
  • Drug product information: used to identify drug products in a standardized format.
  • Plan information: an outline of the administrative policies of public drug plans or programs in Canada. This data may help explain differences in drug utilization patterns across the country.

NPDUIS captures the following information, where available:

  • Unique client identifier
  • Client age
  • Client gender
  • Unique pharmacy identifier
  • Pharmacy postal code
  • Pharmacy province
  • Unique prescriber identifier
  • Prescriber specialty code (limited)
  • Prescriber postal code
  • Prescriber province
  • Drug cost data elements related to ingredient, markup and professional fee
  • Plan/program paid amounts

Formulary data identifies how drugs are covered under public drug programs. More detailed information on the NPDUIS data elements can be found in the NPDUIS Data Dictionary (PDF).  

Claims data is collected in a standardized format based on the Canadian Pharmacists Association’s pharmacy claim standard. Drugs are identified using Health Canada’s Drug Identification Number. They are classified based on the World Health Organization’s Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System as assigned by Health Canada.

[2019-02-11 14:42] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring)