I'm trying to use the label API to search for a specific OTC drug. Lets take CVS's 10mg Loratadine for example. The NDC number is 59779-612-75.

Based on the API docs I think the right query should be:


That returns several hundred results, none of which have a openfda.product_ndc field that matches. Most are substrings or similar strings. The correct product is in there, but the product_ndc doesn't match. The package_ndc field (which isn't documented) does.

None of the variations on NDC substring seem to work either, all return several hundred results: https://api.fda.gov/drug/label.json?search=openfda.product_ndc:59779-612&limit=100 https://api.fda.gov/drug/label.json?search=openfda.package_ndc:59779-612-75&limit=100 https://api.fda.gov/drug/label.json?search=openfda.package_ndc:59779-612&limit=100

A lookup on the following site returns exactly one correct match: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/ndc/dsp_searchresult.cfm

Am I missing something or is the API behaving a bit strangely?

1 Answer 1


I think if you use quotes around the product_ndc field it should give you the results you are looking for.


Link for reference:


  • Yeah, that does work. Just strange that it treats the pieces of the NDC code as partial string matches rather than using the entire NDC code. If I search for "hotdog" I don't get results for "hot" or "h". Is it the hyphen triggering that behavior?
    – emen
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 13:00
  • That I don't know, and that is a good point. I think it may have been setup like that more for when people search for names of drugs, almost like a fuzzy search. It could also be elastic search behavior and not a programmatic decision.
    – mikedklein
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 15:01

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