The Nordic Article Number (Vnr) is an identification code for a specific article of medicine with marketing authorisation in the Nordic countries. The Vnr is a six-digit-code (000001-199999 and 370000-599999) given to all human medicines, veterinary medicines, herbal medicinal products and traditional herbal medicinal products. It enables a simple verification of packages at all stages in the drug supply chain from prescription to the patient.
Vnrs are not needed for sample medicines, products on compassionate use programme or for radiopharmaceuticals. In Finland immunological veterinary medicines are excluded from the Vnr requirement and in Denmark all herbal medicines are excluded from the Vnr requirement.
A Vnr can cover one, several, or even all Nordic countries if certain criteria are met, see Criteria for Vnr.
It is extremely important that manufacturers working with products on the market realize that the Vnr is a critical attribute. It functions as an information carrier between a number of IT-systems involved in the prescription, dispensing, ordering, supply, storage and information on medicines. The usage of the Vnr is therefore a matter of well-functioning management of articles as well as patient safety. In addition, electronic prescriptions as well as highly automated management systems in all parts of the distribution chain enhance the risk of fatal consequences if a Vnr is mixed with another Vnr or if it is incorrect in some way. Therefore, all Vnr changes must strictly follow these guidelines for management of Vnrs.
The labelling of transport and primary packages falls outside the instructions relating to Nordic article numbering.
National article number
The remaining six-digit-codes (200000-369999 and 600000-999999), which are not Nordic Article Numbers (000001-199999 and 370000-599999), are called National article numbers. They are used differently in the Nordic countries, for instance for consumer products (e.g. shampoo, etc.), medical devices (e.g. blood glucose test strips and colostomy bags), as well as for compounded drugs provided under special licence and extemporaneous preparations. This means that the same National article number is used for different articles in different countries.