Apple tightens acceptance of drug guides for App Store

As part of stricter enforcement of developer policies for its App Store, Apple has been rejecting medical and health apps that provide information about prescription and over-the-counter medications, according to a recent article in CiteWorld. Lately, Apple's rejection of certain apps appear to "target drug reference guide apps that provide both on- and off-label dosage guidelines," the article finds.

"In rejecting these apps, Apple has cited a section in its developer requirements that states that the company will only accept dosing instructions within an app if that app is being produced by a drug's manufacturer," states the author. "Apps that provide dosing schedules or guidelines for medications that are not created by drug makers are subject to rejection."

Nevertheless, despite Apple's stricter policy enforcement as of late, several popular medical reference apps remain available in the App Store, including the Epocrates reference app, which includes drug reference and treatment guidelines as well as a medical calculator and a feature that allows a clinician to identify a medication by taking a picture of a pill or tablet and/or entering a description of the medication. 

"That could indicate that some developers are operating with special dispensation from Apple or, more likely, that they have been able to reach agreements with drug makers to provide and verify dosing guidelines," concludes the article.

As of last year, the App Store included more than 13,600 health-related apps for consumers for everything from monitoring sleep cycles to helping expectant mothers through their pregnancies. "While it's true that Apple products aren't the only ones used in healthcare, the company's devices still dominate the industry," the article observes. "And these products ushered in a revolution in how medical professionals and patients access data and communicate with each other."

To learn more:
- read the article