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Medication identifier (IPUMS generated)


For all medication-round fills, MEPSDRUGID is an IPUMS-generated identifier that can be used to link drugs across rounds. AHRQ describes the original variable used to construct MEPSDRUGID as the "prescribed medicine drug-level ID." That is, MEPSDRUGID will have the same value for a given person across rounds for the same medication. This contrasts to MEPSLINKIDF that will have a new value in each round for the same medication. MEPSDRUGID is available beginning in 2009; from 1996 to 2008 RXNDC can be used to link drugs across rounds in most cases. Users should keep in mind that in some cases, RXNDC is not a perfect replacement for MEPSDRUGID because a respondent may have reported a slightly different drug name (the basis for assigning MEPSDRUGID) that was assigned the same drug fill information from the pharmacy (the basis for assigning RXNDC). Starting in 2008, drug fills with the same MEPSLINKIDF value may have different RXNDC values due to different manufacturers.

Construction of MEPSDRUGID 

MEPSDRUGID uniquely identifies prescribed medicines across MEPS panels. For 2009-2017, MEPSDRUGID is created by combining PANELF and DRUGID (DRUGID = DUPERSIDF + unique drug identifier). IPUMS MEPS staff create MESPDRUGID to provide a single, universal linking key for a person’s prescribed medicines across MEPS panels.

Beginning in 2018, AHRQ modified the identifiers DUIDF and DUPERSIDF (which combines DUIDF with PIDF) on the original MEPS data files to append information about PANELF to the first two columns. That change makes DRUGID the same as MEPSDRUGID for 2018 forward.

MEPSDRUGID is on the medication-round fill record (see RECTYPE for more details on the different record types in IPUMS MEPS). Variables offered on the medication-round fill record through IPUMS MEPS are derived from the prescribed medicines file provided by AHRQ. Please see our overview of the event, medical conditions, and prescribed medicines variables, including how those variables are offered through IPUMS MEPS, and general considerations to keep in mind when conducting analyses using these variables.


MEPSDRUGID is a 13-character string variable.


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 2009-2021: All medication-round fill records.


  • 2009-2021


  • No weights are available for this variable. Please refer to MEPSDRUGID for more information.


This variable has no flags.