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OpenFDA Releases Decades of Device Company Data

FDA’s new initiative, openFDA, has enabled easier access to medical device company reports dating back to the early 1990s.
 
OpenFDA uses an Application Programming Interface (API) to allow web developers, researchers and the general public to access thousands of reports. The Office of Informatics and Technology Innovation is leading the program and plans to first focus on devices, drugs and food and the adverse events, recalls and labeling issues that take place within those industries. The first data released on medical devices comes from the Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database. 
 
This data has always been publicly available. However, by making the data more easily accessible and digestible, FDA believes that it will help consumers, companies and government identify potential safety signals and pinpoint which classes of devices may be associated with certain adverse events. The agency does caution users that this dataset is not a definitive account of every event with every device and may contain incomplete, inaccurate, unverified or biased data.
 
OpenFDA also plans to implement a platform to voice challenges issued by FDA, in which the community can interact with one another and FDA domain experts in hopes of furthering innovation around FDA data.
 
Some in the medical device industry have voiced that openFDA might serve as a viable tool for startups seeking to avoid the mistakes of more mature companies, as well as a valuable tool for competitor analysis.
 
What do you think? 
Is the release of this data good for the industry?
How might you or your company use it?

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