FDA releases more data sets under openFDA

Now, developers can tap into a larger cache of data on medical devices using the initiative's APIs.

The Food and Drug Administration announced it has made more data sets accessible through its openFDA program.

Researchers now can use openFDA APIs, short for application programming interfaces, to divine information about the life cycles of medical devices. The newest cache includes data on device classifications, device company registrations and listings, and device approvals, according to a blog post. Previously, the program only allowed users to access device-related information on recalls and adverse events.

This information has been available on the FDA’s public databases for years, but now developers can more easily access the data, wrote blog post authors Dr. Taha A. Kass-Hout, FDA’s chief health informatics officer; Roselie A. Bright, manager of openFDA; and Ann Ferriter, director of FDA’s Division of Analysis and Program Operations.

An API works like a search engine: It allows developers to send it queries for information within their own applications, and the API spits back the results. FDA unveiled openFDA more than a year ago at the Health Datapalooza and, through that initiative, currently offers APIs that allow users to search for data on drugs, medical devices and food.”


Dozens of developers have built apps on top of the openFDA API, and the project has active communities on GitHub and StackExchange, authors write.

“We hope these enhanced device data will be put to similar advantageous use,” the authors wrote. “Together, we can make openFDA an even more useful and powerful resource for all.”

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