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Health professionals benefit from drug database

Health professionals benefit from drug database

A new tool is helping health professionals identify drugs. South Canterbury pharmacist Alan McClintock developed drugIDNZ because he often had difficulty identifying unknown medications.

drugIDNZ is a finalist in the 2008 New Zealand Health Innovation Awards (HIA) where it will compete against 19 other finalists.

drugIDNZ is a computer program which helps identify a drug in any of its forms by comparing it with an up-to-date database of New Zealand drugs and their characteristics.

There are around 1750 products included in the database, along with more than 1350 photographs. The user types in any information they have about the drug, such as its colour, imprint, brand, logo or dose form, and the database displays possible matches.

It lists full information about the drug, including its manufacturer, effects and legal classification.

Alan McClintock says, “There has been a lot of interest in drugIDNZ, which is currently being used by seven District Health Boards and a hospice. It is also undergoing trials in two pharmacies and we are in discussions with the New Zealand Police. A print-out from the database has even been used as evidence during a court hearing.”

drugIDNZ was launched in June 2007 after more than six years of development, which included sourcing the individual drugs and creating the software.

The HIA is a joint endeavour of the Ministry of Health and ACC. They were started in 2003 to recognise individuals and organisations that have developed new and innovative approaches to delivering better health services.

Further information about the HIA is available online at

This year’s HIA winners will be announced at the expo and gala dinner held on 4 November at the Wellington Town Hall.


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