Imagine There’s No Problem Identifying That Prescription Pill: New NLM Challenge

Logo for the NLM Pill Image Recogntion ChallengeWhat if you could take a photo of an unknown pill and find out what it is? The National Library of Medicine’s Pill Image Recognition Challenge seeks to make that possible.

Unidentified and misidentified prescription pills present problems for patients, family members, health professionals, and law enforcement.

Nine out of 10 citizens over age 65 who take more than one prescription pill may be prone to misidentifying their pills. Taking the wrong pill can have devastating consequences.

To reduce errors, anyone should be able to confirm that a prescription pill or a refill is correct.

The National Library of Medicine seeks help to develop algorithms and software that rank prescription pill images in the NLM RxIMAGE database by similar images.

NLM will use the challenge entries to create an application programming interface and a software system for pill image recognition. The interface will be accessible and free.

Submissions will be accepted from April 4 to May 31. Winners will be announced on August 1. Up to five monetary prizes may be awarded, with $25,000 going to the first place winner.

Check out the challenge at