Yellow card reporting scheme for doctors and patients in the UK

The MHRA and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) run the UK’s spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting scheme – called the Yellow Card Scheme. This receives reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) from healthcare professionals. More recently the scheme was extended to included direct reporting by patients.

The MHRA and its predecessor organisations have collected reports of suspected adverse drug reactions through the Yellow Card Scheme for over 40 years. Since the establishment of the Yellow Card Scheme over 500,000 UK reports have been collected.

The scheme collects Yellow Card reports from both health professionals and members of the public on:

  • prescription medicines;
  • herbal remedies; and
  • over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

The MHRA and CHM also have five Yellow Card Centres whose role focuses on follow-up of reports in their areas as this has been shown to improve follow-up rates.

Patient reporting

Patients are now welcome to directly report suspected adverse drug reactions to the MHRA through the Yellow Card Scheme. Until recently, only health professionals were able to make Yellow Card reports.

Patient reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions:

A side effect from your medicine?  Report it through the Yellow Card Scheme

What to report

If you think a medicine or herbal remedy has caused an unwanted side effect (an adverse drug reaction), please report the problem on a Yellow Card.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the medicines safety watchdog. The Yellow Card scheme has been used for over 40 years to collect information on suspected side effects from all types of medicines. These include prescription medicines, medicines you can buy without a prescription, and herbal and other complementary remedies.

The MHRA welcomes Yellow Card reports on any suspected side effect. It is especially useful to know about:

  • a suspected side effect that is not mentioned in the patient information leaflet that came with the medicine; or
  • a suspected side effect that has caused problems bad enough to interfere with everyday activities.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether a possible side effect is due to a medicine or something else. Even if you are not sure whether a medicine or combination of medicines has caused a side effect, but suspect it has, please complete a Yellow Card.

If you are worried about a suspected side effect, contact a doctor or pharmacist, or call NHS Direct in England and Wales on 0845 46 47 or NHS24 in Scotland on 08454 24 24 24.

How to report a suspected side effect

You can report a suspected side effect on the schemes website, on a Yellow Card form, which you can find at pharmacies, GP surgeries or from the Yellow Card hotline by calling freephone 0808 100 3352 during business hours.

The Yellow Card hotline is contactable on freephone 0808 100 3352 (available weekdays 10:00 – 14:00)

Source: MHRA website

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.