Broadly positive reactions roll in for FDA's drug shortages app

The FDA made its first move into the world of smartphone apps this week with a tool to allow users of iOS and Android devices to view information on drug shortages. And the reception to the app was broadly positive, with users praising the tool itself and the FDA for pushing into the mobile sector.

The app pulls in information on current and resolved drug shortages, as well as discontinued products. All the data are already available from other locations, but by presenting them in a mobile app the FDA hopes to make it easier for people to stay abreast of the supply situation. "FDA understands that healthcare professionals and pharmacists need real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions," FDA Associate Director of Drug Shortages Valerie Jensen said in a statement.

FDA has faced criticism in the past for its regulation of mobile apps and its instigation of IT initiatives, but initial responses to the drug shortages app suggest it has done more right than wrong on this occasion. At the time of writing, the app has an average rating of four stars out of a possible 5 on the Google ($GOOG) Play store. The written reviews are generally positive, too, with users praising the quality of the app and the FDA's move into mobile.

The app is the first mobile tool released by the FDA, and the early responses suggest there is an appetite for more such offerings, as well as expansions and improvements to the drug shortages software. Two reviewers call for FDA to add more information on retail drugs--the app, like the FDA's database of shortages, lists mainly hospital-sourced injectables--while others express an interest in seeing what the regulator rolls out next.

- read the release
- check out FiercePharma's take
- and the Google Play reviews