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All - admittedly, a beginner question. I'm looking at the most recent pma json dataset from OpenFDA to understand trends in new applications over time and by geographic location. My first look at the data suggests that everything I can find in the data set is a supplement, rather than a first approval. What values in which fields indicate that an entry represents a newly approved device?

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You would look for a blank supplement number. The following query does exactly that:

https://api.fda.gov/device/pma.json?search=supplement_number:%22%22+OR+missing:supplement_number&sort=decision_date:desc&limit=1000

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