FDA launches app competition to improve access to naloxone

In an effort to help reduce deaths associated with prescription opioid and heroin overdose, the Food and Drug Administration has launched a competition to facilitate the development of an app to connect opioid users experiencing an overdose quickly and effectively with an individual carrying the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

The FDA this week urged computer programmers, public health advocates, clinical researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators to make submissions for an app that increases the likelihood that opioid users, their friends and loved ones and first responders are able to identify and react to an overdose by administering naloxone.

"Even with naloxone increasingly available in the community, however, persons carrying naloxone may not be on hand when an opioid overdose occurs," the FDA said. "There is still the practical need to connect the individual experiencing the opioid overdose quickly and effectively with an individual carrying naloxone."

FDA officials said they are most interested in concepts "that are readily scalable, free or low-cost to the end-user, and take advantage of existing systems for naloxone distribution and use." The agency expects that any app developed through the competition will be used with FDA-approved naloxone products.

Those interested may register for the 2016 FDA Naloxone App Competition here beginning Sept. 23. The FDA highly encourages participants to register as teams.

The agency said a panel of judges with experience in the fields of mobile medical application development, public health, and/or regulatory science will select the highest-performing entrant from the pool of eligible submissions. Once judging after Phase 2 of the competition is complete, the highest-scoring entrant will receive an award of $40,000.


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