DIN’s and NPN’s: what are they?

What is a DIN?

A Drug Identification Number or DIN is an eight digit number assigned to a drug product before it can be marketed in Canada. The Health Canada assigned DIN uniquely identifies each drug on the market in Canada.

Do only prescription drugs have DIN’s?

No, all Health Canada approved drugs including over-the-counter medications have been assigned a DIN.

What is the DIN used for?

A DIN on the medication label lets the consumer know that Health Canada has approved the formulation, labeling, and instructions for use. It is illegal to sell a drug product without a DIN number.

A DIN uniquely identifies the following product characteristics: manufacturer; product name; active ingredient(s); strength(s) of active ingredient(s); pharmaceutical form; route of administration. Additionally, DIN numbers are used by drug insurance companies in order to identify whether or not a drug is covered.

Do Vitamins have DIN’s?

No. However as of January 1st, 2004 these products are required to have other types of identification numbers. Natural health products are assigned either an eight digit natural product number (NPN) or a homeopathic medicine number (DIN-HM).

The process of reviewing and approving all natural health products in Canada is still not complete. Therefore, products which have been initially assessed by Health Canada for safety, quality and efficacy have been given a temporary exemption number which allows them to legally be sold until they are assigned a permanent NPN or DIN-HM. The exemption number is in the form of EN-XXXXXX.

What are the NPN and DIN-HM used for?

These numbers assure the consumer that the product has been approved for sale by Health Canada. They also uniquely identify the same characteristics of the product as the DIN does for drug products.

Why are these numbers important to you?

Health Canada’s approval means that these products have been tested for the following: safety, efficacy and manufacturing standards. Additionally, these products are continuously monitored for adverse effects that occur while they are on the market.

Many products on the internet do not have DIN’s, NPN’s, DIN-HM’s or EN numbers. This means that they have not been approved by Health Canada and are not evaluated for safety.

To search an individual product visit www.hs-sc.gc.ca

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