FDA transparency effort yields eight marching orders

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Eight initiatives the FDA presented for public comment last October as part of its program to increase transparency have been finalized and adopted.

The action items commit the agency to “explore avenues” for making its compliance and enforcement data more accessible and user-friendly, according to the Jan. 31 document presenting the initiatives.

The FDA said the initiatives will ensure FDA’s compliance with a memorandum issued by President Barack Obama in January 2011 requiring all federal agencies to post publicly available compliance information online, and to make the info both downloadable and searchable.

The FDA said it drew from consultations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor, both of which “maintain robust data websites,” to formulate the eight initiatives. These include exploring:

  • Ways to facilitate more timely data disclosure by expediting data entry, expediting inspection review and classification and/or updating data more frequently;
  • How to present compliance and enforcement data graphically, make better use of mobile web apps and encourage data analysis;
  • Whether the FDA can better integrate its compliance and enforcement data to make the data more user-friendly and easier to analyze;
  • Whether more sophisticated search capabilities would make the inspections database more user-friendly and the data easier to analyze; and
  • Ways to better utilize social media to better communicate with the public regarding compliance and enforcement efforts.

Speaking to the latter point, the FDA said its use of social media builds on efforts the agency has already initiated with the FDA Transparency Blog—which, it noted, is transferable to Facebook and Twitter.