FDA open-data platform gains traction

More users are tapping into the FDA's application programming interfaces (API), known as OpenFDA, to use public FDA information—like adverse events and enforcement actions. The API is meant to help developers create applications that can mine and harness public drug and device information in new ways.

The agency announced Thursday on Twitter that OpenFDA now has 6,000 API-registered users worldwide. Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, FDA's chief health informatics officer, told government IT website FedScoop that dozens of apps have already been created using the API.

OpenFDA launched in beta in June. The platform aims to improve public access to information about adverse events (AE), enforcement actions and labeling for drugs and devices. The platform doesn't provide developers with any new information but it indexes public data and then formats that data in ways that developers can easily harness. The API allows developers to search, or query, the data by acting as a type of search engine, FedScoop explained.

One app born out of OpenFDA is MedWatcher Social that scans social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for AE mentions. It then compares the adverse event mentions with FDA's AE data for that drug.


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