The FDA is holding a competition to develop an easy-to-use application that will connect overdose victims with carriers of naloxone in an effort to help a rapid, and hopefully, successful overdose treatment with the drug.  This appears to be a different and unique kind of outreach program to help stem the tide of overdose deaths in what we now call the overdose epidemic.  The details of the competition can be found here.

Judging will be based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Uniqueness and innovation in use of software and data analytics to fulfill the mandatory requirements; variety and value of additional features (weight 25 percent).

Usability: Use of design elements to increase utilization among both people at risk of opioid overdose and naloxone carriers; ease of navigation; appropriate use of an interface to support the app in achieving desired outcome (weight 25 percent).

Functionality: Potential to enhance the frequency and speed of naloxone administration by the carriers to the overdose victims (weight 25 percent).

Adaptability: Potential for app to be tailored to the practical environment (e.g., urban, rural) of an individual community (weight 25 percent).

While there are a number of restrictions on who can enter (see link above), the FDA will not require the submitter to assign their intellectual property rights to the FDA.  The Agency does want the app to be either free to the public or at a nominal cost.  The winner will have to give FDA and any third party operating on FDA’s behalf basically a free license to advertise and use for government purposes.  The competition/challenge is being conducted under the American COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

Good for you FDA! And good for the drug overdose epidemic! Let’s put America’s talent to work in a creative way to save lives.