The FDA Is Gonna Look at Health Apps with a Microscope

So far it's only been the manufacturers, such as Apple, which have screened any apps for potential wrongdoings, but the Food and Drug Administration has decided to step in and regulate any app that offers medical or health guidance.

We've written about some of those apps in the past—the Withings blood pressure monitor; Google's human body app; the nutrition app Fooducate; even the handheld cancer detector and ultrasound app (which has actually been FDA-approved). These, and plenty more apps offer guidance, advice or just knowledge, which may not be wholly correct.

While the FDA doesn't want to scare off any would-be app developers (they said in their statement that they encourage "the development of new apps), they do want "input on its proposed oversight approach for certain mobile applications specific to medicine or healthcare called mobile medical applications ('apps') that are designed for use on smartphones and other mobile computing devices."

Many apps, like the one from Withings, use peripherals to monitor the user's vitalities, and the FDA is particularly keen to inspect those. Developers, or just interested parties, can contact the FDA before they come to a decision about their involvement with health apps on this address: Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. [FDA via LA Times]