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SMC Search Help

You can search the website from anywhere in the website.

Find a drug

 An auto-complete tool helps you search for drug names that may be difficult to type or remember. Simply begin typing the drug name into the search box and after the first 3 letters suggestions will appear under the box.

Type est to find estradiol, estrogen or estrel. Auto-complete will do the rest.

Select the name you were looking for and hit “Search”.

The SMC Advice Directory gives you many more ways to find advice on specific drugs.

Key word search

The website search can also be used to find a key word or term.

Simply type the word(s) into the search box and hit “Search”.

Combination searches

Search Results
 pharmaceutical industry  pages that contain “pharmaceutical” or “industry”
 “pharmaceutical industry”  pages that contain “pharmaceutical industry” together
 “anti-inflammatory”  words that contain hyphens need to be searched with quotes around them to return an accurate search. This does not apply to manufacturer names e.g. Sanofi-Aventis
anti* part words can be searched using an asterisk. Anti* returns pages that contain words beginning with anti e.g. antihistamines, antimicrobial, antiviral

More search combinations can be found in making advanced searches.

Search results page

Your search results are grouped by section of the website:

  • SMC Advice
  • Forthcoming Submissions
  • About SMC
  • Submission Process
  • Public Involvement

Up to 5 results from each section are listed. See additional results by following the “More results…” link.

If no results appear in a section of the website, this section will not be listed.

The SMC Advice Directory

The keywords search box also offers auto-complete help. See Find a drug for info on how this works.

A more refined search can be made by filtering:

  • BNF Category
  • Submission type
  • Advice published date
  • Advice status

The results will be displayed below the search box. Use the arrows provided to re-order your results by:

  • Drug name
  • Drug number
  • Manufacturer
  • Advice Status

Making advanced searches

Boolean Operators

SMC supports AND, OR and NOT Boolean operators (Note: CAPS must be used). This allows a term to be combined through logic operators.

children OR insulin

The OR operator is the default when terms are separated by spaces. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the OR operator is used. The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exist in a document.

"inhaled insulin" AND children

The AND operator matches pages where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document. The search above returns pages that contain "inhaled insulin" and "children".

+insulin inhaled

The "+" operator requires that the term after the "+" symbol exist somewhere in a field of a single page. The above search returns pages that do contain "insulin" and may contain "inhaled"

insulin NOT children

The NOT operator excludes pages that contain the term after NOT. The search above returns pages that contain "insulin" but not "children".

N.B.: The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term. For example, the following search will return no results: NOT insulin.

insulin -inhaled

The "-" or prohibit operator excludes pages that contain the term after the "-" symbol. The above search returns pages that contain "insulin" but not "inhaled".

Hyphenated Words

Hyphenated words need to be put in quotes so that the search knows you are not using an exclude condition (as with the above operator). e.g. "anti-inflammatory".

SMC allows manufacturer titles that contain hyphens to be searched without the need for quotes.

Multiple Terms

Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query such as:

children “Inhaled Insulin”

This will return pages that contain either the word children or the phrase “Inhaled Insulin”.

Complex Conditions, Grouping with Parenthesis

Some conditions can be ambiguous in meaning such as:

Insulin AND children OR adolescents AND diabetes

You can make it clearer what is being asked for by using parentheses. 

(Insulin AND children) or (adolescents AND diabetes)

which will return pages with both words “Insulin” and “children” or both words “adolescents and diabetes”

Another example of complex search conditions would be:

Insulin AND (children OR adolescents) AND diabetes

which will return pages with the words “Insulin” and “diabetes” and also either “children” or “adolescents”.

Wildcard Searches

The SMC search supports single and multiple character wildcard searches within single terms but not within phrase queries.

If you look for the word super then you will not find the words superb or supersonic.

If you use the wild card character asterisk then you can. i.e.


will return pages with words super, superb, supersonic etc.

To perform a single character wildcard search use the "?" symbol.

To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the "*" symbol.

The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match that with the single character replaced. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:


Multiple character wildcard searches looks for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for test, tests or tester, you can use the search:


You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term.


You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.


The SMC search supports finding words that are within a specific distance away from each other.

To do a proximity search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Phrase. For example to search for a "children" and "insulin" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search:

"children insulin"~10

Upper and lower case

The search will find words that match regardless of capital letters or otherwise. .


will find return the same pages as


Combining words and phrases with operators

You can search any combination of words and phrases. e.g.

(Insulin AND children NOT "syllabus") OR ("professional development" NOT work*)

finds pages with words “Insulin” and “children” but not “syllabus”  or “pages” with words “professional development” as a phrase separated by a space but not including words “work”, “workshop”, “working” etc.