FDA releases app for clinicians to track drug shortages

By Aditi Pai
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FDA Drug ShortagesThe FDA has launched a new app, called DrugShortages, to help health care practitioners and pharmacists track current drug shortages, resolved shortages, and discontinuations of drug products.

“The FDA understands that health care professionals and pharmacists need real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions,” Valerie Jensen, associate director of the Drug Shortage Staff in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement. “The new mobile app is an innovative tool that will offer easier and faster access to important drug shortage information.”

DrugShortages is available on iOS and Android devices. Users can search the database available in the app for a generic name or active ingredient. They can also search for drugs alphabetically or therapeutic category. The app also provides instructions for how an app user can report a drug shortage or supply issue. The FDA hopes the app will help health care practitioners make quick decisions about patient treatment based on the information the app provides.

In the past couple years, the FDA has released a few other digital resources for consumers and professionals.

In 2012, Epidemico relaunched their app, MedWatcher, in collaboration with the FDA. The app helps consumers report side effects or adverse events of medical devices directly to the FDA. Although the app had been around since 2010, according to App Annie, the app got a full redesign with the help of the FDA in 2012.

Last summer the FDA launched an API-driven initiative, called openFDA that is designed to help web developers, researchers, and consumers access the FDA's large public health data sets. The goal for the initiative is to get developers to build their own apps on top of openFDA using the data.