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Med Safety Week

What is #MedSafetyWeek and MHRA Yellow Card scheme?

If you had a bad reaction to a medicine or medical device, or suspected it was unsafe in any way, would you know how to report it? For this #MedSafetyWeek we find out about the MHRA Yellow Card scheme, a quick and simple way of reporting suspected problems with medicine in the UK. A small action from you can keep our medicines reliable and prevent others from future harm.

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Why do we need Med Safety Week?

#MedSafetyWeek is a campaign to make our medicines and healthcare products as safe as possible, by encouraging us to report suspected side effects and other problems1. This isn't just a job for scientists and doctors - anyone can make a difference by speaking up if there's a potential problem.

In the UK, medicines and other healthcare products meet very high safety standards. The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) plays an important role in this, keeping watch over medicines and devices, investigating problems, and taking action to protect the public from harm.

To do this, the MHRA needs to hear when you have any unexpected side effects, a medical device incident, or believe a product isn't working properly. This is the purpose of the MHRA Yellow Card scheme.

What is the MHRA yellow card scheme?

Perhaps your child's inhaler isn't working, you have a bad reaction to a vaccination, or you suspect you've been sold a fake medication. The MHRA Yellow Card Scheme is a simple report you can fill out online or through the Yellow Card scheme app on Apple or Google Play.

It's easy to fill out, with search bars and multiple-choice answers, and is sent directly to the experts that can investigate the problem.

This is a reporting tool and not a health service. If you are worried about your health, contact your doctor, call the NHS non-urgent helpline number 111, or call call 999 for an emergency ambulance in the UK.

How do I use the MHRA Yellow Card scheme?

You might like to save the MHRA Yellow Card scheme link to your browser or download the app for future use. To start your Yellow Card report:

  1. Enter the name of your medicine in the search bar. Medicines are listed by the name of their active ingredient, not by the brand name. To find the name of the active ingredient, look at the patient information leaflet that came with the medicine or device, or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

  2. If you can't find the active ingredient name, you can select this option from search bar dropdown menu and start your report.

  3. If you wish to report on COVID-19 medicines or products, there is a separate report for this here.

Case study: new side effect found for Gaviscon Infant

Your reports make a real difference. When a three-month-old baby boy developed severe constipation while taking Gaviscon Infant, this is what happened when his mother reported it2.

  1. MHRA experts investigated the report and found six other reports of constipation with Gaviscon Infant in children under nine months.

  2. They found that the product information and precautions had been accurate for children over one years of age, and not for younger babies.

  3. Regulatory action was taken with the pharmaceutical company to update product warnings that severe constipation can occur in those under one years of age, so that both doctors and parents can make safe decisions based on this information.

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Further reading

  1. MHRA: MedSafetyWeek.

  2. MHRA: Case studies.

Article history

The information on this page is peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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