*Updated 16th June 2017*

Name: NICE BNF app and NICE BNFc app

NICE BNF app Homescreen

NICE BNF app Homescreen

Publisher: National Institute of Health and Care Excellence

Devices: Android smartphones and tablets (requires 4.0 and later), and iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (requires iOS 6.0 or later)

Other requirements: These apps download and store content locally on your device.

BNF: Android version 5.7.145 download size 9.82mb. iOs version 5.5 download size 12.2mb

 BNFc: Android version 5.7.146 download size 8.88mb. iOSs version 5.5 download size 11.6mb

Available from: Apple’s iStore and the Android Market

Price: Free, but to download the content and any updates you will need an NHS OpenAthens account in order to login – details on how to register for an NHS OpenAthens account are given below. Note that an NHS OpenAthens account is only available to NHS staff and students on NHS commissioned courses.

Type of information: Drug information (prescribing,

NICE BNFc app Homescreen

NICE BNFc app Homescree

dispensing and administrating medicines)For: UK health professionals including pharmacists, and medical and healthcare students

  • Main pros – Free to NHS staff and students on NHS commissioned courses in England, Scotland and Wales. It is updated monthly (like the online BNF and BNFc) so as long as you keep the app up-to-date you will always have access to the most recent published information. It is also easy to navigate and bookmark.
  • Main cons – you will need a fairly significant amount of memory available on your device in order to install both apps. Content only downloads over a wifi connection, not mobile data allowance.


The NICE BNF and NICE BNFc apps allow you to browse by chapter or search the entire content of the BNF and BNFc on your mobile device. In addition to this you will also receive notifications when updates are available, and the ‘What’s New’ section highlights any changes since the last print edition (print editions are released every March and September), making it easy for you to keep the app up-to-date and ensure that you always have access to the most recently published information from the BNF/BNFc (other BNF/BNFc apps we have found on the market are not only costly, in the region of £30, but only updated twice a year like the print publication).

BNF Sign in prompt

The NICE BNF and BNFc apps prompt you to sign in the first time you open them

Once you have downloaded the apps getting them up and running is straight forward, you just need to make sure that you have your NHS OpenAthens username and password, so that you can login and download the content when prompted to when you open the app.

To get an NHS OpenAthens account:

  • NHS staff at St George’s: if you don’t already have an account then you can self-register here (you will need to be logged in to an NHS computer or using an NHS email address when you register so that OpenAthens can confirm that you are an eligible user).
  • SGUL Students: Students on NHS-commissioned healthcare programmes can apply for an NHS OpenAthens account. Email library@sgul.ac.uk from your SGUL email address, with the subject line: HE-NHS Athens Account Request.
    NOTE:  Before you attempt to download the app, you must accept the NHS OpenAthens terms and conditions. To do this, log in to MyAthens with your account details.

Once you have logged in and downloaded the content of the app, you are ready to get started!

BNFc search screen

The search function has auto-complete predictive text and a range of useful filters so you can select the type of information that you are looking for when you search

From the homescreen you can choose to browse or search the content, skip straight to your bookmarks (once you have some), or view any changes since the last print edition in the ‘What’s New’ section. The search function works very well, and has an auto-complete function as well as some useful filter options – for example you can search specifically for interactions information for a particular drug (clinician reviewers have rated the colour-coded display of drug interactions in these apps highly). When you are in a particular chapter you can bookmark the information by hitting the bookmarks icon at the bottom of the screen and selecting ‘Add Bookmark’, you can also use the icons at the bottom of the screen to skip to the homescreen, search function, your bookmarks or the contents page of the Formulary at anytime.

NICE BNFc app interactions page

Drug interactions pages use a colour-coded display to quickly give an indication of the severity of the interaction

As the apps are stored on your device you can access the information at anytime, even when there is no internet connection available; however, this does mean that you will need to have enough available memory on your device in order to install and run the app(s), and that you will need to make sure that you are still regularly connecting to a wifi network in order to download the content updates.

Overall these apps are very easy to use, display information in a clear way that can be customised according to the users needs (select ‘Settings’ on the homescreen to select your preferred display options) and provide reliable, free access to these key medicines references for NHS staff.

For more information: read about it on the NICE  page, or the iMedicalApps review

All posts on this blog are subject to the SGUL Library’s guide to mobile resources disclaimer, please take the time to read it carefully.


4 thoughts on “Feature: NICE’s BNF and BNFc apps

  1. I have installed this app on both my Android and iOS devices and currently experiencing the frustrating problem of being unable to sign in and use the app. “Unable to authenticate please try later” is the only result I am able to elicit. This happens on both platforms, including after reinstallation of the app. I have checked my Athens credentials are in date and work to log onto Athens online. Could you advise please?

    Many thanks,


    • Apologies for the very late response, email notification of comments were not coming through, so this was not picked up. There was previously an issue with BNF apps authentication in October, the issues should have been resolved by now. If you do have any further queries please email library@sgul.ac.uk.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s