Apply for a licence to market a medicine in the UK

An overview of the process including submitting or fast-tracking an application, naming your medicine and paying fees.

This information is common to all procedures. You should read the guidance for your specific pathway for any extra information or steps that might be required. The pathway that you follow will depend on your intended market and the type of application you are making.

Find out more about the different national and international licensing procedures

Application process

You should submit all UK and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) national applications through the MHRA submissions portal.

If you have any questions about the submissions portal, email

You should submit your application using the electronic Common Technical Document (eCTD).

Use the pre-submission checklist (PDF, 129 KB, 7 pages) to help you with your application. You should also use our eAF and cover letter tool to determine what information you need to include in your application. If you do not include the correct information your application will not be validated.

We check that eCTD submissions are technically valid using the Lorenz Docubridge validation tool which strictly aligns validation against ICH international standards and eCTD 3.2 regional requirements. We recommend that you use a validation tool to check your submission.

You can check the validation of your submission before making it using the LORENZ eValidator Basic validation software for eCTD and more. Your MHRA agent will use the Lorenz docuBridge eCTD tool to technically validate the submission against ICH international standards, eCTD 3.2 EU regional requirements, once we receive it.  

For more information on the standards, see: 

If you have any questions about submitting your application, email

PL number

If you are applying for a UK, Great Britain or Northern Ireland licence, you must get a PL number from MHRA Submissions or by emailing before you submit your application.

Please note the following prefixes and their definitions:

  • PL: a product licensed by the MHRA that covers the whole of the UK, coming into effect from 1 January 2025
  • PLNI: a product licensed by the MHRA that covers Northern Ireland (NI) only as the territorial application.
  • PLGB: a product licensed by the MHRA that covers Great Britain (GB) only as the territorial application

Active substance master files (ASMFs)

ASMFs holders must submit their dossier to the MHRA. It is your responsibility to make sure you submit the ASMF either before you submit your application or at the same time. Your application will not be valid without it.

Submission of a new ASMF and any update to an ASMF should be made by the ASMF holder using MHRA Submissions. If you have any questions about MHRA Submissions, email

Read our guidance on the submission of ASMFs.

Certificates of suitability (CEPs) continue to be acceptable in support of UK and GB national authorisations.

Summary of product characteristics (SmPC)

You must submit the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) to the MHRA in the correct format using the SPC template (MS Word Document, 36 KB). If you do not use this template your submission will be rejected. You must not alter these templates in any way, other than inserting the relevant information.

Established medicines

For established active substance marketing authorisation applications (MAAs).

Process for review

To ensure applications are complete on initial assessment, or as soon after submission as possible, read the guidance on the licensing process change for established medicines, effective from 1 March 2024.

Watch the webinar videos:

Checklists - established active substance MAAs

For established active substances within scope of the relevant checklist, we encourage applicants to submit the following documents with the initial submissions. The main purpose of these checklists is to promote ‘right first time’ submissions.

UK public assessment report (UKPAR) templates

The lay summary of the UK PAR forms are completed by the applicant of a national abridged applications only following the request for further information (RFI) from MHRA.

Providing a name for your medicine

MHRA considers each application for a product name to ensure that the proposed name will allow the medicine to be taken safely and correctly.

Find out more in our naming of medicines guidance (PDF, 235 KB, 20 pages).

Fast-track your marketing authorisation

Applications can be fast-tracked if there is compelling evidence of benefit in a public health emergency or if there is a shortage of supply of an essential medicine that has been verified by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

To make a request to fast-track your marketing authorisation, email a letter of no more than 3 pages to

The letter should include:

  • the justification for fast tracking
  • a brief description of the major clinical properties of the product
  • evidence supporting the claimed benefits of the product for the proposed indication(s)

If you want to fast-track your application because of a shortage of supply we recommend you discuss this with DHSC by emailing

There is no additional fee for fast-tracking applications.


Fees vary depending on the type and route of application. Find out more about the fees we charge in MHRA fees.

Use the fees calculator to work out what the fee for your submission will be.

Find out more about how to pay your fees in making a payment to MHRA.

Purchase orders (POs)

It is your responsibility to make sure the invoices for your submissions are paid on time. If your organisation operates a PO system, please make sure that the relevant PO is provided to MHRA before the invoice is issued.

Refusal to pay outstanding fees on the grounds that the PO is not provided on the invoice will not be accepted. The use of POs is an internal control process and cannot be used as a reason to withhold payment of legitimate invoices.


Once your application has been validated you will receive an invoice so that you can make a payment for the outstanding amount. All invoices must be settled upon receipt.

Penalty fees may be incurred for non-payment. Details of the penalties are explained in our fees regulations.

Non-payment may also result in suspension of any licence or authorisation, followed by legal proceedings for any unpaid amounts, as a debt due to the Crown.


Any submission that does not meet the requirements will be rejected.

If a submission is rejected, we will email you the reasons for the rejection. You must then resend the entire submission with the errors corrected. Do not send the corrected deficiencies by email.

You will not be charged if your submission is rejected for technical reasons.

If you think your submission has been wrongly rejected, email

Published 18 December 2014
Last updated 14 May 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added a new webinar video on the established medicines licensing process

  2. Added details of Lorenz Docubridge validation tool.

  3. Edited to add Youtube tutorial for Established Medicines licensing process

  4. Details about new process changes which are being introduced for applications for  “Established Medicines”.

  5. Updated to add further guidance on obtaining a PL number for applications

  6. Added link to Fees Calculator.

  7. Added 'Checklist and abstract for bioequivalence studies and/or biowaivers' and 'Checklist for product information', for established active substance MAAs within scope.

  8. Added links to pages providing further information on some of the procedures.

  9. Following the end of the transition period, published information on new procedures for obtaining a marketing authorisation in the UK, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) or Northern Ireland.

  10. Updated content to reflect that the UK cannot act as a Reference Members State (RMS) for approval of marketing authorisations in decentralised and mutual recognition licensing procedures during the transition period.

  11. The DHSC contact for fast-tracking a licence has changed.

  12. Inserted text - Request for Information (RFI)... Under 'Ways to make your submission'

  13. Updated email address and naming to Department of Health and Social Care

  14. Removed link to Excel spreadsheet list of products.

  15. Added spreadsheet under "types of application" heading

  16. Added a link to the User Guide for the electronic application form.

  17. Updated contact information for Department of Health for advice when seeking to fast-track an application due to a shortage of supply of essential medicines.

  18. New fees calculator.

  19. First published.