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MHRA steps up yellow-card side-effects campaign

Practice The MHRA is urging pharmacists to report any suspected side effects from medicines following low up-take of its yellow-card scheme.

The MHRA is urging pharmacists to report any suspected side effects from medicines following low uptake of its yellow-card scheme.

The medicines watchdog has teamed up with pharmacy leaders to promote the scheme, which involves health professionals, the pharmaceutical industry and patients providing details of adverse drug reactions on a yellow card.

As part of the initiative launched today (February 1), the MHRA is distributing the cards to pharmacies, together with posters and leaflets detailing the importance of reporting safety issues. A promotional video is also being shown at 339 Rowlands pharmacies in the UK and is available on YouTube.

A promotional video is being shown at 339 Rowlands pharmacies in the UK and is available on YouTube

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The campaign has been developed with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the Company Chemist Association, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies and Royal College of GPs.

Reporting by pharmacists to the scheme, which was introduced in 1964, had remained low and static in recent years until the introduction of the NMS in October 2011, when the number of reports rocketed 122 per cent, the MHRA said. Last year pharmacists made 2,417 reports compared to 1,751 in 2011.

Reports from members of the public have almost halved since 2006 and the number of yellow cards received from GPs has steadily fallen, from 5,578 in 2003 to 3,511 in 2012.

"We realise healthcare professionals have heavy workloads and we greatly appreciate their support for the yellow-card scheme," said MHRA director for risk management and vigilance June Raine.

"But we need them to use the scheme more frequently and report even when they are not sure a side effect has been caused by a medicine," she added.

Rowlands Pharmacy marketing director Mike Johnson said the MHRA campaign highlighted that customers can "use pharmacies to report their concerns about the medicines they are taking".

"The yellow-card scheme helps identify potential safety factors that ultimately helps to make taking medicines even safer," he said.


Do you use yellow cards to report suspected medicines side effects?

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