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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Drug effects report scheme launch
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The Yellow Card scheme has been operating since the 1960s
Patients will be able to report side-effects of drugs direct to the medicines watchdog in a scheme being rolled out across the UK.

Concerns about drug safety have traditionally been raised by GPs, pharmacists and pharmaceutical firms under the Yellow Card scheme.

But the system is now being extended to patients, after fears that not all side-effects are reported.

Yellow card forms will be placed in GP practices and other NHS sites.

Suspected side-effects can also be reported online at www.yellowcard.gov.uk or by calling 0808 100 3352.

Patients provide a different and extremely useful insight into suspected side-effects that we cannot easily get from Yellow Card reports from health professionals
Professor Gordon Duff, of the Committee on Safety of Medicines

The Yellow Card scheme has been operating since 1964 for health staff and pharmaceutical companies to report drug safety concerns.

Reports are passed on to drugs regulator. the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), a government advisory body.

Patient reporting has been used in pilots in 4,000 GP surgeries since January after a review of the Yellow Card Scheme, but is now being extended.

MHRA chief executive Professor Kent Woods said: "By inviting people to report their experiences, not only are we able to gain better insights into the safety of medicines, but we can more directly involve people in medicines regulation."

CSM chairman Professor Gordon Duff added: "Patients provide a different and extremely useful insight into suspected side-effects that we cannot easily get from Yellow Card reports from health professionals."

And he said as the scheme evolved patients would "become more familiar with it".




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