netFormulary NHS
North Central London
Joint Formulary


The aim of the formulary

The main aim of this formulary is to promote safe, evidence-based, cost-effective prescribing.

Limiting the range of medicines included in the formulary and promoting the use of generic
medicines where appropriate:-

  • Enhances safety through familiarity with the medicines in use in the hospital by all staff
    involved in the prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines
  • Ensures efficient use of NHS resources
  • Ensures efficient use of limited storage space both within the hospital pharmacies and
    on the wards, enhances good stock control and reduces the pharmacy stock holding

Development of the formulary
The NCL Joint Formulary started as an amalgamation of the various Trust formularies across the region (North Middlesex University Hospital, Royal Free London, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and University College London Hospitals). This process identified significant variation in formularies and NCL Joint Formulary Committee will be working to reduce any unwarranted variation over the next 5 years. 

How should the formulary be used?
Formulary drugs, including the range of approved preparations for each drug, are listed
according to the BNF classification system. Unlicensed drugs included in the most an 'unlicensed medicine' section or within the most relevant BNF chapter.

First, second, and occasionally third line drugs are indicated where appropriate.

First line drugs should be used unless there is a contraindication; the patient has suffered an adverse effect, or has not responded to the first line drug.

The formulary is not intended to replace the BNF which will need to be referred to for
information on licensed indications, contraindications, cautions, side-effects, interactions and dosage etc. (also available online at

Does the formulary apply to outpatient prescribing including referrals to GPs?
In general yes, as it is our aim to promote safe, evidence-based, cost-effective prescribing in primary care also. However there are some medicines that are not stocked by the hospital pharmacies and hence are not included in the formulary simply because we would not expect them to be initiated whilst patients are in hospital or in out-patients e.g. topical preparations for acne, drugs for smoking cessation, HRT (only a very limited range of NRT & HRT is stocked).