OpenFDA offers new API for easier access to drug, medical device recall data

Through its OpenFDA program, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now offers an Application Programming Interface to give developers and researchers access to data about recalls, according to a blog post by FDA's Taha Kass-Hout.

Hout, the chief health informatics officer, says the API will give direct access to enforcement reports for drugs, medical devices and food dating back to 2004.

"The recalls in this dataset provide an illuminating window into both the safety of individual products and the safety of the marketplace at large," he writes.

The API will supplement ways to access data that the FDA already provides, including an RSS feed, a Flickr stream and a search interface, according to Hout. The recall database is the second dataset to be released on the OpenFDA program.

The program, announced in early June, is a way for the administration to make publicly available data accessible in a structured and computer-readable format.

The FDA is using the program to also continually embrace cloud computing. It's an important move from the government agency as more hospital IT executives turn to the cloud to lower costs and meet technology needs.

Hout says in his blog post that more APIs will be announced in the weeks ahead. 

To learn more:
- read Hout's blog post