RxImageAccess Applications Programming Interface (API) is an online offering from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications’ Office of High Performance Computing and Communications (OHPCC) for searching for and retrieving digital images and associated metadata for prescription oral solid dosage formulations (tablets, gel caps and capsules, etc. – commonly known as pills) from a publicly available, increasingly comprehensive, standardized, curated database. RxImageAccess has the following features:
Fees and NLM Attribution
RxImageAccess images are free for public use.
The NLM requests that the following citation be included with the images when they are used in software or online applications:
“Images supplied by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Office of High Performance Computing and Communications (OHPCC) have been supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and through NIH intramural funding approved by the NLM Board of Scientific Counselors.”
For developers wishing for a waiver of the attribution or who may wish to use an NLM logo in their applications or who may wish to be placed on a developer informational forum please submit a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correspondence and requests to be include in e-mail announcements
Please send comments, questions, suggestions, and requests to be included in RxImageAccess e-mail announcements to email@example.com.
About pharmaceutical products imaged
The pills that were photographed for this project were either, voluntarily provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers, purchased from licensed pharmaceutical retailers, acquired through wholesale channels or provided by other federal agencies.
About U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involvement
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) provided technical advice, funding, and in-kind support for the development of the photography standards for this project, the establishment of an imaging facility, and the performance of some image capture.
More about the RxImageAccess database and API
The RxImageAccess collection contains high-quality images of over 2,300 pills that have been photographed using specialized macro-photography techniques and then image processed leveraging high-fidelity segmentation algorithms as part of OHPCC’s Computational Photography Project for Pill Identification (C3PI). The number of images available through the API is increasing as part of a multi-year commitment by the NLM to develop the first publicly accessible and curated standardized image collection of prescription pharmaceutical products marketed in the United States.
To promote the use of these images in healthcare and research applications, the RxImageAccess API has been designed to allow software and online applications developers access to the images of pill products through a reliable and high-performance RESTful (representational state transfer) architecture interface. The images provided through the API are designed to support a wide range of end-user environments including online, mobile, and desktop applications. To that end, RxImageAccess provides images in multiple sizes and resolutions.
RxImageAccess currently provides two layout formats (image collections) for all the supported resolutions that allow developers to choose whether pharmacological name(s) and physical characteristic data (e.g. shape, size, color, imprint and scoring information for pills) will be directly displayed with the pharmaceutical product’s image, or whether instead it would be better to suppress the physical data available from the image frame for a particular application.
The images are available through a RESTful Web API that allows developers to request pill images based on a wide number of parameters including:
The RxImageAccess API returns metadata information on the following items associated with the pill images:
The RxImageAccess images, metadata, were captured and the online API was configured by Medicos Consultants, LLC under contract with the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications in NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications. The RxImage project is a component of OHPCC’s Computational Photography Project for Pill Identification (C3PI).