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NLM Announces Release of Pill Images!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the release of about 1,800 new high quality images of solid oral dosage medications. Images were taken at high resolution, but are also available in smaller sizes if desired for certain applications. Researchers and product developers may obtain the images and accompanying metadata via an applications programming interface (API). NLM also makes the images available for interactive Web searching via its Pillbox and RxNav sites.

Of the roughly 1,800 pills photographed to date, approximately 400 were provided by manufacturers. The others were purchased through a licensed Maryland pharmacy. NLM estimates that the images cover about 15% of the more than 10,000 solid dosage forms of the 4,075 human prescription medications on the US market, and a higher percentage of frequently prescribed medications. The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) provided technical advice, funding, and in-kind support for the development of the photography standards for these pills, the establishment of an imaging facility, and the performance of some image capture.

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