Posted on 08-21-2014
I first wrote about openFDA back in June, showcasing the launch of their new developer area, and I'm happy to see they aren't missing a beat when it comes to launching new APIs. I recently saw that openFDA just launch a new endpoint, called the Drug Label API, which allows you to query over 60K prescriptions and over-the-counter drug labels.
It is satisfying to see such a large government agency find their API mojo. The original spark at the FDA was lit by Presidential Innovate Fellow Sean Herron (@seanherron), but most recently Sean has handed off the iniative to an internal team who will keep they platform moving forward using the same formula.
Beyond just the API, openFDA is also seriously putting the "open" in openFDA with:
- Public Repo on GitHub
- Extensive Community Q&A on StackExchange
- Progress Terms of Service for Government
Everything the openFDA is doing provides a great blueprint for other agencies to follow, from their creative evolution of the interactive API documentation, to encouraging other federal agencies to fork, and use the openFDA TOS in their own platforms.
The work coming out of the FDA makes me happy, because it sets a strong example that other agencies can follow, provides the rest of us with something positive that we can highlight when working to change public opinion, but also because it is such extremely vital data, and should be available in full download, and API format so that it can stimulate web and mobile app development, and system integration across the private sector.
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