OpenFDA: an innovative platform providing access to a wealth of FDA's publicly available data

December 06, 2016 by Taha A. Kass-Hout, Zhiheng Xu, Matthew Mohebbi, Hans Nelsen, Adam Baker, Jonathan Levine, Elaine Johanson, Roselie A. Bright

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Objective: The objective of openFDA is to facilitate access and use of big important Food and Drug Administration public datasets by developers, researchers, and the public through harmonization of data across disparate FDA datasets provided via application programming interfaces (APIs). Materials and Methods: Using cutting-edge technologies deployed on FDA’s new public cloud computing infrastructure, openFDA provides open data for easier, faster (over 300 requests per second per process), and better access to FDA datasets; open source code and documentation shared on GitHub for open community contributions of examples, apps and ideas; and infrastructure that can be adopted for other public health big data challenges. Results: Since its launch on June 2, 2014, openFDA has developed four APIs for drug and device adverse events, recall information for all FDA-regulated products, and drug labeling. There have been more than 20 million API calls (more than half from outside the United States), 6000 registered users, 20,000 connected Internet Protocol addresses, and dozens of new software (mobile or web) apps developed. A case study dem- onstrates a use of openFDA data to understand an apparent association of a drug with an adverse event. Conclusion: With easier and faster access to these datasets, consumers worldwide can learn more about FDA-regulated products.