The Food & Drug Administration plans to launch a public database of recall data this fall, another element in the agency’s quest to become more transparent.
The data, on recalls of medical devices, food products and drugs, will be compiled in a searchable, online database. The data will also be made available in a downloadable XML format.
The information to be posted will include brand and company names, product descriptions, the problem that prompted the recall and product photos when available, FDA transparency coordinator Afia Asamoah told the Sunlight Foundation.
Most recalls are made on a voluntary basis; the FDA does not have the power to require more data from companies — a fact it would like to remedy, according to the foundation. The agency wants the ability to compel companies to release “the identity of the product that is being recovered or corrected, the estimated number of medical products (e.g., number of tablets or devices) or food items that are subject to recovery or correction, the reason for the action to recover or correct the product, and the geographic distribution of the product," according to an FDA transparency report.
The watchdog agency isn’t limiting its transparency push to data and reports. It’s announced a slew of initiatives since President Barack Obama cleaned house and brought in a new slate of administrators last year. They include moves to release more data on its 510(k) clearance and pre-market approval processes, a transparency website for the Center for Devices & Radiological Health and even a "Transparency Task Force."
CDRH head Dr. Jeffrey Shuren is in Woburn, Mass. today for another in a series of public "town hall" meetings. Stay tuned for coverage of the meeting on MassDevice.