ISTAT informs us: ATECO code for ISF

ISTAT, following our specific request, tries to clarify the ATECO code for ISF

We deem it useful to point out that ATECO 2007 

  • is a classification of economic activities and not of professions; 
  • it does not make distinctions based on the type of organization that owns the production unit or the way it operates, since this criterion does not pertain to the characteristics of the activity itself. Units engaged in the same type of economic activity are classified in the same category as ATECO, regardless of whether they are part of registered businesses or corporations individual.

Consequentially, in the event that the company does not yet have a VAT number, based on the description of the activity, not explicit and referenced within the classification, the 2007 ATECO codes to be taken into consideration are:

46.18.31 Agents and representatives of pharmaceutical products; herbal products for medical use

46.18.32 Agents and representatives of sanitary products and medical, surgical and orthopedic appliances; devices for beauty centres

46.18.34 Business brokers of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products

46.18.35 Mediators in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products

With regard to these encodings we are forced to dwell on the factor sixth digit (subcategory level) which sees different codes used for fundamentally similar activities.

ATECO 2007 was developed by ISTAT in collaboration with experts from public administrations involved in the activity of classifying production units and numerous producers' associations. The aim was to take into account the specificities of the Italian production structure and to identify particularly relevant activities in our country. In practice, the experts worked through a technical committee for the definition and management of the classification of economic activities. This committee was supported by a more operational discussion group, made up of experts from ISTAT, the Revenue Agency, the Chambers of Commerce and Unioncamere and INPS.

The committee has set itself a second and even more important objective; that of arriving, for the first time in the history of the classification of economic activities, at a single classification, shared and adopted by all the national institutions involved in this problem. This uniqueness was sought both in the structure and contents of the classification and in its interpretation. During the process of defining the new Ateco 2007, we realized

that to guarantee these objectives the fifth digit was not sufficient to incorporate the innovations introduced by Nace Rev. 2 also taking into account the specific needs of the entities concerned.

We then proceeded to add further fifth digits within the new structure of the ed classification introducing some sixth digits (subcategories) where indispensable to guarantee the uniqueness of the national classification.

At the moment, the use of the sixth digit for statistical purposes is not envisaged, its validity is therefore limited to administrative areas.

In other words, giving an example concerning the question asked, ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics) only uses the category code (5 digits) 46.18.3 Intermediaries in the trade of pharmaceutical products and cosmetics to classify all the activities of pharmaceutical trade intermediaries, without making distinctions.

The detailed codes (six-digit), in their specificity, have been requested and are used by the Revenue Agency or above all by the Chambers of Commerce to which it would be appropriate to request exhaustive information.

Otherwise you can consider the code

74.90.93 Other technical consultancy activities nec.

– environmental consultancy

– technical advice for obtaining industrial patents

– energy saving consultancy

Finally, if the (individual) company does not recognize itself in these codes, it can refer to the coding of other professional activities not classified elsewhere:

74.90.99 Other professional activities nec

– business brokerage activities, for example for the sale of small and medium-sized enterprises, including professional firms (real estate and insurance brokerage activities are excluded)

– intermediation activities for the purchase and sale of user licenses

– appraisal activities not related to the real estate or insurance sector (for antiques, jewellery, etc.)

– activities of handwriting experts, sommeliers, etc

– agencies aimed at finding buyers among publishers, producers, etc. for their clients' books, plays, works of art, photographs, etc.

– copyright management services and their revenues

– management of rights related to industrial property: licenses etc

– activities of archaeologists

Evaluate which codes to choose based on the prevailing characteristics of the activity that we are unable to grasp.

If the activity involves several aspects, a single code is not envisaged.

The classification rules suggest assigning the main activity code to the activity with the highest turnover (or highest revenues) and indicating further codes for any secondary activities.

In the event that the company already has a VAT we point out that

  • The ATECO economic activity code is assigned at the same time as the opening of the VAT position by the Revenue Agency Office, by an intermediary enabled for the Entratel service or by the Chamber of Commerce.
  • This code can be acquired through a historical certificate of incorporation (in the paragraph Activities, registers of roles and licenses).
  • This is the official text code.
  • ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics) has no involvement with the management of archives and databases of an administrative or tax nature. The institutional competence of the Business Register lies with the Chambers of Commerce that manage it, interconnected through their IT company InfoCamere.
  • ISTAT is required by law to respect the statistical confidentiality of the data collected during its surveys (Article 9 of Legislative Decree No. 322/89 establishing the National Statistical System).
  • Therefore, these data are used exclusively for statistical purposes and cannot be communicated to any subject - public or private - unrelated to the national statistical system, nor can they be disseminated, except in aggregate form and in such a way that it is not possible to identify the person or company to which the information relates.

In other words, if you have a VAT number, through a historical certificate of incorporation (requested at the Chamber of Commerce or with Infocamere or more simply from your accountant), you can recover the code that has officially been assigned to the economic activity you declared .

We remain at your disposal for any further clarification.

Best regards


Central Directorate for Economic Statistics (DCSE)


We were very clear on the terms of the question precisely because the condition of the drug's scientific representative is ambiguous from the point of view of classification, as already mentioned, not envisaged, and, being precisely the many subjects involved, very widespread.

Not by chance we have indicated two alternative codes to those envisaged for commercial representatives and intermediaries who carry out commercial transactions in the name of a principal.

Among other things, we have already had difficulties at European level in presenting the classification question in order to have a homogeneity of treatment .

In the next version of the classification, the activity of the pharmaceutical sales representative will surely have an explicit place.

For the moment we can only say that currently the subjects who carry out this activity usually use the code 74.90.99 Other professional activities nec which codifies professional activities not classified elsewhere.


Central Directorate for Economic Statistics (DCSE)


Redazione Fedaiisf

Promote the cohesion and union of all members to allow a univocal and homogeneous vision of the professional problems inherent in the activity of pharmaceutical sales reps.

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco