The Yellow Card
Have you ever wondered how Adverse Drug Reactions are reported? It is through a system that has been developed since the 1960's called the Yellow Card
It is used to report problems with:
Adverse Drug Reaction
Problems with boxes and blister cards
Medicines of Poor Quality
Counterfeit medicines or medical Device
and is soon to include E-Cigarettes
The card is supposed to be filled out by medical professionals (Doctor or Nurse) pharmacists and the patient or carer.
Medicines continue being monitored after they have been licensed. In the UK this is done by the MHRA (medicines and health products regulatory agency) In Ireland it is the role of the HPRA (healthcare products Regulatory Authority. Its main job is to ensure that medicines and medical devices are safe for those that use them. To do this effectively the MHRA also works with the EMA (European Medicines Agency).
No product is 100% safe; there are always risks, but to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks. Using the information gathered the MHRA is able to recognise when the risk is greater than the benefit of the medical product. Medicines can affect people differently, this includes age, sex, the interaction with other medicines and herbal remedies and even genetic factors. When someone reports a concern on the yellow card, this information is included when measuring whether the risk outweighs the benefit of that medicine for its given purpose. The possible adverse drug reaction may be only suspected, but it still should be reported.
Remember that if the packaging or medicine is defective it also should be reported. This includes blister packs that do not work properly, or medicines that break. Recognising defective medicines and packing is important as each medicine costs the NHS money; we would rather see this money spent on better health services rather than defective medicine.
To learn more about the yellow card use the links below to more information.