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MIMS is an abbreviation for Monthly Index of Medical Specialties. It is sent free of charge to NHS general practitioners in the United Kingdom every month. It lists almost all licensed medicines available from pharmaceutical companies in the UK and is produced by a commercial publisher funded by the pharmaceutical industry. [1] Not all pharmaceutical companies contribute as they pay to have their products included and there are drug advertisements throughout. Medicines are listed by system (not that of the BNF) and the index at the back is by brand name.

MIMS does not attempt to suggest that one medicine is better than another though changes are occurring and brief monographs are appearing. One benefit is the presence of tables. These tables give brief details of e.g. all the oral contraceptives with dosages and type, all the blood glucose detecting sticks with types and a list of travel immunisation and antimalarials for different countries. The abbreviated information allows for rapid comparison. The listings give the trade names first then a list of ingredients, a note of the various dosages available and a description of each dosage form e.g. red and yellow capsules and (new) a contact telephone number for the pharmaceutical company producing that brand. There are brief notes on side effects, interactions and use in pregnancy and childhood. In comparison The British National Formulary[2] has a smaller list of medicines judged the best in the group. These are presented in therapeutic groupings and given in alphabetical order of approved names. It has a clear monograph on each section with information on each medicine with an order of preference clearly stated. A list of formulations and dosages is given with a note on side effects interactions and use in pregnancy or childhood. The index includes official and brand names. There are guidelines on prescribing in general and for special groups of patients such as the pregnant, the elderly and patients nearing the end of their lives. A Hospital Formulary or a Health Authority Formulary will follow the format of the BNF.

Since MIMS is comprehensive and brief it is much favoured by nurses.



  • Quality of information
  • Favoured by prescribing authorities
  • Follows standard format
  • Absence of commercial pressures
  • Use of approved names
  • More detailed monographs
  • Six monthly
  • May not be so up to date with new medicines


  • Monthly
  • New medicines brought in more rapidly
  • Tables
  • Use of trade names
  • Possible commercial pressures
  • Brand names only in index
  • Less detail in monographs
  • Not favoured by prescribing authorities
  • Follows own format


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