I Want A New Drug
April 14, 2011 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Is there a dictionary of prescription and OTC drug names, which has an open license or can be licensed cheaply?

I am looking for a database, table or flat file etc. of prescription drug names — generic and brand name — which can be used in the development of a software tool.

The key is that the data have an open or inexpensive license. Bonus points if the database includes a short description of the drug, manufacturers, and other metadata.

I'm not looking for a web service or web lookup, but a static data structure that I can include with the tool and use to look up references locally.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and pointers!
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Check out pubmed health. Tons of good information, and most ncbii databases are easily queried. If you are pulling tons of info all at once, they will make you do it at night though.
posted by rockindata at 1:51 PM on April 14, 2011

Response by poster: This looks like a web app. Do you know how to retrieve the database or table data holding the actual information?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on April 14, 2011

Someone at NIH's National Library of Medicine would probably love to help you with this. They have a cool "Pillbox" web app in development, which links to a Drug Information Portal ("Information available for 23,552 drugs."). And "Government information at NLM Web sites is in the public domain."
posted by Dave 9 at 2:43 PM on April 14, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, I sent them an email to see if their data are available separate from the web interface.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2011

The FDA has a National Drug Code database, as well as a Drugs@FDA database. Might those work?
posted by greatgefilte at 3:20 PM on April 14, 2011

The database of reference in the UK is the British National Formulary. I have no idea about the costs or terms of access, but it may be useful even as a search term to seek alternatives to.
posted by Jakey at 4:14 PM on April 14, 2011

This is what you want. The FDA's National Drug Code Directory it is free, complete, normalized and updated regularly.
posted by jack.tinker at 6:10 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It looks like PubMed Health is out:
We simply display information for the content providers, such as A.D.A.M.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on April 15, 2011

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