SNOMED CT is a comprehensive clinical terminology, originally created by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and, as of April 2007, owned, maintained, and distributed by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), a not-for-profit association.
The NLM is the U.S. Member of the IHTSDO and, as such, distributes SNOMED CT at no cost in accordance with the Member rights and responsibilities outlined in the IHTSDO's Articles. The license terms are incorporated into the License for Use of the UMLS Metathesaurus. Use of SNOMED CT is subject to the IHTSDO Affiliate license provisions and is free in IHTSDO Member territories including the United States, in low income countries, and for Qualifying Research Projects in any country. To learn more, please see the IHTSDO SNOMED CT and Licensing page.
This depends on where you are planning to use SNOMED CT. If you plan to use SNOMED CT:
In the US
Licensees of the UMLS Metathesaurus have free access to SNOMED CT. The IHTSDO license terms for SNOMED CT cover use and distribution worldwide, but fees may be applicable outside IHTSDO Member countries.
Users should carefully read the license agreement before re-distributing any content in any type of application as there may be additional restrictions, permissions or copyright considerations imposed by the content providers. Users must contact the vocabulary content providers regarding any use that is not covered by the license. The content providers may charge fees for these additional uses of their content. Appendix 1 of the license agreement lists contact information for each content provider. The SNOMED CT® Affiliate License Agreement is included as Appendix 2 of the UMLS Metathesaurus License and outlines possible costs. NLM is a member of IHTSDO and there is no charge for SNOMED CT use in the United States and other Member territories. For information about fees in non-member countries, see the IHTSDO website.
In another Member Territory
The UMLS is a global license and can be used to access SNOMED CT.
If you are planning to use, deploy or distribute SNOMED CT in a Member territory then the license can be obtained from that Member. The use of SNOMED CT in Member countries is free but we encourage you to check with the other Member's website to determine if there are other requirements. You can locate each Member country’s designated website by following the links from the IHTSDO website.
If you decide to use, deploy or distribute SNOMED CT in additional Member countries you should check the Member’s website to determine if there are requirements for use in that specific member country. Alternatively, you can also request a license from the IHTSDO.
As an alternative to obtaining the license from the Member, you may obtain the license directly from IHTSDO. However, you should check the Member’s website you plan to deploy or distribute SNOMED CT in to determine if there are any requirements for use in that specific country.
In a Non-Member Country
If you do not already hold a SNOMED CT license and you plan to use, deploy or distribute SNOMED CT only in a non-member country then you should apply for a license directly with IHTSDO. More information is available from the IHTSDO. Please be aware fees may apply.
The SNOMED CT Affiliate License is incorporated as Appendix Two in the UMLS Metathesaurus License.
If you decide to use, deploy or distribute SNOMED CT in additional Member countries you should check the Member countries’ website to determine if there are specific requirements for use in that specific Member country. You can locate each Member country’s designated website by following the links from the IHTSDO Members page.
There are no fees for SNOMED CT use in the US or other IHTSDO Member countries with a license but fees may be charged for use of SNOMED CT in non-member countries.
Fees are set and collected by the IHTSDO (owner organization of SNOMED CT). NLM cannot advise users on fees for specific projects. See the IHTSDO Web site for fee information and how to obtain a fee waiver for certain uses. You must contact the IHTSDO regarding a fee waiver BEFORE requesting a license from NLM.
No, an individual at the hospital/organization using your application/system must have a license as well. It is the same license for all users.
We do not offer a license for multiple users at this time. However, there is no limit on the number of individual licenses from an organization.
You need to notify and register your use with the IHTSDO BEFORE you use SNOMED CT in a Non-Member Country/Territory. You may register via the IHTSDO Member Licensing and Distribution Service (MLDS). Any additional questions should be directed to the IHTSDO.
Last Reviewed: February 16, 2021