Apple Begins Rejecting Apps That Include Drug Dosages

6-8-2013 9-36-48 PM

In what may be a disheartening setback for the mHealth community, Apple is applying a longstanding but rarely enforced restriction on app developers. According to iMedicalApps, if the app submitted for approval displays medication dosing information, Apple is rejecting the application, responding with the following:

“Section 1.2: We can only accept medical dosage information submitted by the medicine’s manufacturer.”

There is still some uncertainty as to how frequently or consistently Apple is applying this restriction. As the FDA begins to crack down on mobile health apps, like its recent inquisition on uChek, Apple too may be tightening its criteria as a protective measure.

This would seem to be great news for drug reference libraries like Epocrates that have already passed through the approval process and are somewhat protected from this type of scrutiny because they have a widespread physician user base. The rule would imply that new entrants to the drug reference library market would not be approved.

Another general concern is for mobile-enabled patient portals, like MyChart, that display prescription information. It is not clear from Apple’s Section 1.2 rule whether this would be authorized. If not, that will have a significant impact on the mobile strategies of many payers, health systems, and EHR vendors moving forward.

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