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Feds hope access to drug recall data will benefit public


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jul 19, 2014 in Wrongful Death

At times, it seems as though another pharmaceutical product is being recalled every day. While it's great for consumers to know what type of medications to avoid taking, it can become absolutely overwhelming.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced the opening of a new way for public and media organizations to receive and process large amounts of recall data. The project, known as OpenFDA, allows organizations to download and synthesize years worth of recall information.

Regulators moved forward with this project to provide more visibility to recalls. Now, it will be easier to synthesize and understand trends in recalls across the board and for specific types of drugs or medical devices.

One of the other benefits of OpenFDA is that the information is being made available to developers in a format they can use. With this information stream, the idea is that apps for computers and smartphones could be built to provide more information to consumers.

Of course, having recall information is critical for protecting consumers from injury or, worse yet, death. At the same time, however, it's just as important to examine the role of manufacturers in this regard. Of course, drug makers often voluntarily recall products without intervention from the FDA, but there may still have been serious problems in the development, testing or manufacturing of drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to consumers to provide the safe and effective products that they advertise. Unfortunately, these companies sometimes fall short in this regard and consumers are the ones who suffer most.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "OpenFDA Provides Ready Access to Recall Data," Taha A. Kass-Hout, July 16, 2014