Data Curation

How often do you update DrugBank?

DrugBank is updated on a daily basis. The DrugBank downloads are released quarterly. If you need more frequent updates, please contact us.

I found an error in a drug entry. Can you fix it?

Please use our contact form to submit an error report. If you can, please include references for the corrected information.

You are missing a drug, can you add it?

Yes, please let us know if you find any missing drugs through our contact form.


How can I open the DrugBank .xml file?

One common source of confusion is that some people expect the .xml file to be a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file, which it is not. It can't be opened in Excel, so the data needs to be either opened with an XML viewer or extracted from it using an XML-processing library like Or you can take a look at using XPath to query the file here:

Custom exports in different formats can be requested for users with a commercial or academic license; please contact us to acquire one.

How do I cite DrugBank?

You can learn more about citing DrugBank here. Generally, please cite the latest publication, unless you are referencing specific details from older publications.

Is it ok to use an image of a chemical structure for our web page/publication/poster?

For small molecules, yes. It would be appreciated if you added a link to DrugBank or a reference to our latest publication. For biotech drugs, the images originate from the Protein Data Bank (PDB). They have an open standard for reuse of their images so it shouldn't be a problem.

Why is the data not opening in Excel?

The DrugBank data cannot be opened in Excel. Only simple XML data can be opened in Excel, but not a structured one like DrugBank. It is a big dataset with nested structures and is intended for programmatic use.

To export advanced search results in a format that can be read by Microsoft Excel, you will need a commercial or academic license. Please contact us to acquire one.

Using DrugBank Commercially

Can I use DrugBank content in my commercial product or application?

DrugBank is freely available to use in a non-commercial product. Commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation. This means you cannot:

  • Directly sell or profit from the DrugBank Database or from works derived from the DrugBank Database
  • Use the DrugBank Database internally for commercial product development
  • Use the DrugBank Database as a component of a data product or within software to be made commercially available.

The DrugBank Database may be used by individuals, institutions, governments, corporations or other business entities so long as the use itself or any works derived from the use of the DrugBank Database are not intended to generate sales or profit.

If you wish to use to use the DrugBank Database for commercial purposes, please contact us to inquire about a separate agreement.

Can my company use the DrugBank data for internal research use?

This depends on the use case. If you plan on using the DrugBank database with the intention of developing a commercial product, you need to contact us to acquire a license. However, there are cases where using DrugBank data for internal research use is allowed in a commercial setting.

Please contact us and we can discuss your use on a case-by-case basis.

Is it considered commercial use if my group or project is grant-funded?

Use by grant-funded academic groups or using DrugBank data in a grant application is considered non-commercial use and does not require an additional license.


I am currently taking drug X, what are the side effects?

We do not offer any advice on drug treatment.

What is the definition of an approved drug?

A drug that has been approved in at least one jurisdiction anywhere, at some point in time. Even if it was once approved, but it is currently withdrawn.

Where can I buy this drug?

We don't offer any information about where you can purchase or obtain drugs.