Product Concepts Overview

What Is A Product Concept?

Product concepts are an abstraction that simplify products. A product concept holds the same kind of data as a product does - ingredients, route, form, strength, and brand. Each product concept is matched to one or more products. The connection between product and product concept is made on the basis of the properties that they share - do they have the same ingredients, route, etc. However, product concepts are not just copies of the products; product concepts provide a way to specify, filter and compare products at a specified level of detail. Using product concepts instead of products, many tasks become much easier. Some examples of these tasks are provided on the use cases page of this guide.

For instance, the US product with the NDC product code 51862-449 has 16 product concepts. These are listed in the table below. In this case, the product is not branded, so there are no product concepts with a brand. Each product concept offers a view into the product. Product concepts are derived from products, so there is a direct correspondance between the properties of the product concept and the properties of the products it is matched to.

DrugBank ID Title Level Ingredients Exact Ingredients Strength Route Form Brand
DBPC0017857 Tamoxifen 1 yes no no no no no
DBPC0017859 Tamoxifen 10 mg 2 yes no yes no no no
DBPC0017861 Tamoxifen Oral 2 yes no no yes no no
DBPC0103411 Tamoxifen Tablet 2 yes no no no yes no
DBPC0017858 Tamoxifen citrate 2 yes yes no no no no
DBPC0017863 Tamoxifen 10 mg Oral 3 yes no yes yes no no
DBPC0104223 Tamoxifen 10 mg Tablet 3 yes no yes no yes no
DBPC0103415 Tamoxifen Oral Tablet 3 yes no no yes yes no
DBPC0017860 Tamoxifen citrate 10 mg 3 yes yes yes no no no
DBPC0017862 Tamoxifen citrate Oral 3 yes yes no yes no no
DBPC0103412 Tamoxifen citrate Tablet 3 yes yes no no yes no
DBPC0104225 Tamoxifen 10 mg Oral Tablet 4 yes no yes yes yes no
DBPC0017864 Tamoxifen citrate 10 mg Oral 4 yes yes yes yes no no
DBPC0104224 Tamoxifen citrate 10 mg Tablet 4 yes yes yes no yes no
DBPC0103416 Tamoxifen citrate Oral Tablet 4 yes yes no yes yes no
DBPC0104226 Tamoxifen citrate 10 mg Oral Tablet 5 yes yes yes yes yes no

Product Concept Levels

The value of the level property indicates how many fields are set in the product concept. The most general product concept, DBPC0017857 Tamoxifen will be shared between all products which contain Tamoxifen as their sole active ingredient. As the level increases, the product concept becomes more specific, and generally, it will match fewer products.

Product Concept Hierarchy

The product concepts can be useful even when dealing with just one product. However, it is when the product concept hierarchies for multiple products are considered together that they are most useful. For instance, the simplified graph below includes product concepts for three related but distinct products. This graph shows that there are two available strengths for Tamoxifen oral tablets: 10mg, and 20mg. It also shows that there is an oral liquid form of tamoxifen that is availabe. By exploting this structure, it is possible to easily move from ingredient to product, selecting (or not) a route, form, and strength along the way. This is the concept behind the product selector demonstrated in the product concepts API tutorial.

Going from top to bottom of the graph, each level adds a new property. Starting with ingredient (Tamoxifen), the next level adds either route (oral) or form (liquid/tablet). At the next level, both route and form are present. Finally, strengths (10mg, 20mg, 10mg/5.0mL) are added to each of the concepts in the previous level. As the level of detail increases, the product concept matches fewer products. Although the top level concept DBPC0017857 Tamoxifen does not match any of the products matched by the more detailed concepts, this is not the case at the bottom of the tree. The product concepts in the final row do not have any products in common.

The product concept hierarchy is expansive - unlike in the simplfied graph above, the full hierarchy has very few limitations in terms of organization. There are multiple paths from level 1 to level 5 concepts. In the figure below, the product concepts for three types of products are represented in a graph form. Arrows are drawn from parent concept to child concept. This graph illustrates how product concepts are shared between differnt products. Finding the nearest shared ancestor between any two product concepts shows what those two concepts have in common. It also illustrates how moving down the tree and adding more detail decreases the number of products a product concept matches.

In the graph above, each node represents a single product concept. The hierarchy displays the tree from three level 5 product concepts to the level 1 "Tamoxifen" product concept. The three level 5 product concepts displayed are:

  • Tamoxifen citrate 10mg Oral Tablet
  • Tamoxifen citrate 20mg Oral Tablet
  • Tamoxifen citrate 10mg/5.0mL Oral Liquid

Product concepts with three rings are related to all three level 5 concepts. Product concepts with two rings are related to two level 5 concepts, and product concepts with a single ring are unique to one level 5 concept.

Product Concept Brands

In addition to ingredients, exact ingredients, strength, route, and form, some product concepts also have a brand property. As with the other properties, brands are extracted from products. A product concept with a brand will only match products with that brand - generics or products of other brands will not be matched. Every branded concept, however, has an equivalent unbranded concept - which will match generics and products of any brand.

Soltamox 10mg/5.0mL Oral LiquidNolvadex-D 20mg Oral Tablet
Tamoxifen OralDBPC0017861yesyes
Tamoxifen Oral [Soltamox]DBPC0044490yesno
Tamoxifen Oral [Nolvadex-D]DBPC0321547noyes