Do you know about the Yellow Card scheme?

The Yellow Card Scheme is a scheme from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) enabling healthcare professionals and members of the public to report side effects of medications.

yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

It was introduced in 1964 following the Thalidomide tragedy and has proved to be a successful system for the early detection of emerging safety issues with medicines. It acts as an early warning system for identifying previously unrecognised adverse drug reactions, but also provides valuable information on recognised side effects. This allows the MHRA to identify and refine understanding of potential safety issues that may affect the treatment of patients. It is used to update prescribing advice for health professionals.

Healthcare professionals and the public can report side effects on a voluntary basis and there is a legal obligation for pharmaceutical companies to do so.

The MHRA has reported that both patient and GP reporting of side effects through the scheme has fallen in the last decade and they have now launched a public health campaign in partnership with pharmacy organisations to highlight the need for the public to report any suspected side effects from medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme. For more info on their campaign, see the press release here:

mhra.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Pres...

Otherwise, see the link below for the scheme itself:

yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

1 Reply

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  • This is a very good scheme, Lindsey, and has worked well in the past.

    I suspect that GPs are too much overworked these days to take a great deal of notice when patients report side effects, unless those side effects are so florid as to be impossible to ignore. This may be why reporting has fallen.

    There is also the issue of generic prescribing. Whilst a good idea in principle, I am not sure that buying generic drugs from the cheapest supplier can always guarantee a standard quality of medicines, and fear that this may also have had an effect on the side effects noticed and reported.

    It's good to see that the government are campaigning for an increase in reporting of side effects - thanks for drawing it to everyone's attention!

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