U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Drugs
  3. Resources for You | Drugs
  4. Information for Industry | Drugs
  5. Phonetic and Orthographic Computer Analysis (POCA) Program
  1. Information for Industry | Drugs

Phonetic and Orthographic Computer Analysis (POCA) Program

POCA System Overview

The Phonetic and Orthographic Computer Analysis (POCA) program is a software tool that uses an advanced algorithm to determine the orthographic and phonetic similarity between two drug names. The program can compare a drug name against multiple drug names found in several different “data sources” contained in the software. The data sources provided through this download are:

  • DrugsAtFDA (updated monthly)
  • RxNorm (updated monthly)
  • Suffixes in the proper name of approved biological products (updated monthly)
  • United States Adopted Names

POCA may be accessed by using the link for POCA online or by downloading the source code. Both options are described below.


POCA online access is a fast and direct way of using the POCA search tool without needing to download any software. Public users can click on the link provide below and begin performing searches securely and anonymously. 

Launch POCA

POCA Source Code

To download the FDA POCA software, click on the following link. Save the installation zip file to your computer and follow the instructions in the POCA Installation Guide that is part of the zip file.

Download: Current POCA version is 4.3

This zip file contains both a compiled version of the POCA application and the source code. The compiled version has been tested and installed on a number of computers.

POCA is a web-based application that was originally developed for the Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 and the Oracle 9i Database. It has now been upgraded to include the following:

  • Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0 and the Oracle 12c Database.
  • Revised orthographic algorithm (for more information on the revised algorithm, see Medication Errors Related to Drugs.

Installation Overview

Prior to installing the POCA database and application, it will be necessary to ensure that the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0 and Internet Information Services (IIS) are installed on the computer hosting the web application, and that Oracle 12c Database software is installed on the computer hosting the database (these may be on the same computer). Following the instructions in the supplied “POCA Installation Guide”, download and create POCA database. The POCA web application files are downloaded to the computer’s hard drive, which will configure the web server.

Once the application is up and running, instructions for using the application can be found in the POCA User Guide file that can be downloaded from the link above. This file is also available from the “Help” link in the application.

Files and Folders in the Zip File·

This contains Upgrade scripts and full ORACLE database Dump( .dmp) file that will be used to create an Oracle database and import data and PL/SQL routines into the database.

  • POCA_DB_Install Folder
  • POCA_Datasources Folder (inside the POCA_DB_Install folder)
    This contains a single ascii file in a specific format. Files in this format can be used as data sources for POCA. A description of this format is supplied as a spreadsheet called data_source_template.xls. Please note that POCA data sources must be in the ascii specific pipe delimited format. POCA does not directly accept spreadsheet data
  • POCA Installation Guide.doc
    This document is the instructions for installing the POCA database and application.
  • Poca_Published_Files Folder
    This folder contains the compiled version of the POCA application ready to run on a Windows system.
  • Poca_Source_Code Folder
    This folder contains the source code for the POCA application for those who want to investigate the algorithms and/or change them.
  • Technical Information Folder
    Contains the following files:
    • POCA ER diagram.pdf
      This ER diagram is provided as a reference so users can understand how the tables relate to each other and to get a general feel for the size of the system.
      Some of this refers to how POCA is set up at FDA and is not relevant to installing POCA. This might be useful to a programmer who wanted to modify the POCA system.
    • ODAC folder
      This folder contains different versions of the Oracle.DataAccess.dll file that you may need to use during installation (see the installation guide).

Monthly DrugsAtFDA, RxNorm, Suffixes in the proper name of biological products Downloads

Please find listed below the monthly downloads of DrugsAtFDA, RxNorm, Suffixes in the proper name of biological products and United States Adopted Names to be copied to folder per installation guide.

For more information on POCA 4.3 or to download POCA 4.3, see the  POCA 4.3 Update Homepage.

For more information on medication errors related to drugs, see the Medication Errors Related to Drugs Webpage

Back to Top