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The Yellow Card Scheme

The Yellow Card Scheme is used to help the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitor the safety of the medicines and vaccines that are currently on the market.

 Before a medicine is granted a licence to be used in the UK, it must pass strict tests and checks to ensure that it is acceptably safe and effective. All effective medicines, however, can cause side-effects, which can range from minor to very serious. For a medicine to be granted a licence, the expected benefits of the medicine must outweigh the possible risks of the medicine causing adverse effects in patients, but sometimes it is difficult to tell whether a possible side-effect is due to a medicine, or something else. Even if it is only a suspicion that a medicine or combination of medicines has caused a side-effect, the MHRA ask patients and health professionals to send them a Yellow Card so they can investigate.

Information gathered from Yellow Card reports made by patients and health professionals is continually assessed at the MHRA by a team of medicine safety experts made up of doctors, pharmacists and scientists who study the benefits and risks of medicines. If a new side-effect is identified, information is carefully considered in the context of the overall side-effect profile for the medicine, and how the side-effect profile compares with other medicines used to treat the same condition. The MHRA takes action, whenever necessary, to ensure that medicines are used in a way that minimises risk, while maximising patient benefit.

You can obtain a Yellow Card form from local pharmacies, GP surgeries, phoning the Yellow Card hotline on 0808 100 3352 or by visiting the website: https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/.

 When you complete the form you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • The side-effect.
  • The name of the medicine which you think caused it.
  • Information about the person who had the side-effect.
  • Your contact details as the reporter of the side-effect.

 The form should be returned to the address on the bottom of the form and no stamp is needed.

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