Amazon’s Alexa partners with First Databank for virtual drug information

“Alexa, what is Tylenol?”

Amazon’s cloud-based voice service can now answer health questions like this after partnering up with a drug and medical device knowledge company.

For the first time, drug information from First Databank, a provider of drug and medical device knowledge, will be available to consumers using Amazon’s Alexa voice technology. Through an Alexa-enabled device, consumers can access a subset of FDB’s drug information, which has been used by healthcare professionals for more than 40 years. FDB has provided drug databases to be used in a variety of applications in the healthcare industry, including other consumer-facing apps.

The information is specifically tailored to Alexa by FDB clinicians, and can help consumers answer questions such as what type of drug is ibuprofen; what are the side effects of sertraline; does Zoloft interact with Aleve; and more. Alexa can answer questions about drug effects, drug interactions, precautions and a drug’s class.

“People lead busy lives and voice provides a simple way to get helpful information about medications including side effects and drug interactions––for themselves and the people they care for––and this information will complement advice from their medical and pharmacy teams,” FDB President Bob Katter said in a statement. “Ultimately, we believe that more informed consumers will lead to improved medication adherence, the reduction of adverse drug events, and better patient outcomes.”

Amazon already has access to free healthcare information from the U.K’s National Health Service under a government contract. And Alexa has the ability to remind patients when to take their medications and request refills for their medicines.