Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Data Curation

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

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

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


We do not offer any advice on drug treatment.

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 Even if it was once approved, but it is currently withdrawn.

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


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.

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

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.

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

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 to inquire about a separate agreement.

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 at and we can discuss your use on a case-by-case basis.

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.