AHFS Pharmacologic-Therapeutic Classification System

The AHFS Pharmacologic-Therapeutic Classification System, developed and maintained by ASHP, has been in use in hospitals and health-systems for over 50 years as a logical way to group drugs for easy comparison during P&T Committee meetings as well as aggregate reporting on drugs for utilization and billing.

The AHFS Pharmacologic-Therapeutic Classification System includes:

  • Grouping of drugs with similar pharmacologic, therapeutic, and/or chemical characteristics in a 4-tier hierarchy
  • 31 classifications in the first tier, 200 in the second tier, 285 in the third tier, 112 in the fourth tier
  • Components that would normally fall outside the scope of AHFS Drug Information but need to be included as a placeholder for specific customers’ needs

This Classification is updated annually with the possibility of intermediate updates being published throughout the year and available:

  • With optional companion mapping tables to the US National Drug Code (NDC) and RxNorm identifiers
  • In delimited ASCII file format for easy import into a relational database

Remarks from an environmental scan of formulary structures and drug classification systems conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealing the widespread use of the AHFS classification system

a key reference and starting point for formulary development ... it's readily available and universally accepted by physicians. Booz Allen Hamilton
recognized standard for systemic classification of drugs that uses a coding system to organize drugs Booz Allen Hamilton

Featured Partners

Included in the data structure of major pharmacy information database and systems vendors:
First Databank, Wolters Kluwer Health, Micromedex (IBM Watson Health), McKesson, Health Information Designs, Affiliated Computer Systems, EDS.
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