We tested the hypothesis whether data on ABCB1 ATPase activity and passive permeability can be used in combination to identify ABCB1 substrates and inhibitors. We determined passive permeability using an artificial membrane permeability assay (HDM-PAMPA) and ABCB1 function, i.e., vanadate-sensitive ATPase activity for a training set (40 INN drugs) and a validation set (26 development compounds). In parallel experiments, we determined ABCB1 function, i.e., vectorial transport in a Caco-2 cell monolayer, and ABCB1 inhibition, i.e., calcein AM extrusion out of K562-MDR cells, to cross-validate the results with cellular assays. We found that compounds that did not modulate ABCB1-ATPase did also not affect calcein AM extrusion and were not actively transported by ABCB1 in Caco-2 cell monolayers. The results corroborated the effect of passive permeability as an important covariate of active transport: active transport in Caco-2 monolayer was only apparent for compounds showing low passive permeability (<5.0 cmx10(-6)/s) in the HDM-PAMPA assay whereas compounds with high passive permeability (>50 cmx10(-6)/s) were shown to inhibit calcein AM efflux with IC50 values close to their respective Km value obtained for ABCB1-ATPase. The use of HDM-PAMPA in combination with ABCB1-ATPase offers a simple, inexpensive experimental approach capable of identifying ABCB1 inhibitors as well as transported substrates.