BNF Publications are published jointly by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. They are independent resources that do not market medicines.
Our publications evaluate clinical evidence from diverse sources with information validated by a network of clinical experts and published under the authority of a Joint Formulary Committee. The BNF Publications content databases are used to publish all versions of the BNF, including our books, apps, and the online version of our publications on MedicinesComplete. For further help and support see https://about.medicinescomplete.com/help/
BNF Publications reflect current best practice as well as legal and professional guidelines relating to the uses of medicines. Content includes:
- Guidance on the drug management of common conditions
- Details of medicines with special reference to their uses, cautions, contra-indications, side-effects, doses, and relative costs
- Guidance on prescribing, monitoring, dispensing, and administering medicines
The BNF is a direct descendant of the National War Formulary, in which the titles of the preparations were in Latin and the doses in minims and grains. In 1939, the minister for health appointed a committee to prepare a wartime formulary to contain a “selection of medicaments sufficient in range to meet ordinary requirements of therapeutics”.
When the war ended, it was the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Medical Association that wanted to continue publication of a formulary for general use. Therefore, the BNF was born.
The first edition was published in 1949; an overhauled version of the formulary launched in 1981. Since then, a new book has been published every 6 months, with the cover colour changing for each edition.
The first edition of the BNF for Children was published in September 2005 and since then a new book has been published annually.
Today, BNF products are used by healthcare professionals in the UK and abroad, and it has been translated into several languages including Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Polish.
How is the BNF funded?
The BNF is entirely funded from sales made by the joint publishers, the BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press. The great bulk of sales are of the printed version and made to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for distribution within the NHS in England and to the Departments of Health for distribution within the NHS in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The publishers also sell the publication in both printed and electronic formats in the UK and the rest of the world.