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Yellow Card scheme goes mobile with first app

App allows patients, carers and healthcare professionals to report side effects directly

Louise Prime

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Patients and healthcare professionals can now report suspected adverse effects from medicines directly to the Yellow Card Scheme using the first ever smartphone app for this purpose, revealed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency this morning. The MHRA said it hoped its ‘digital evolution’ would help it to act quickly against reported safety problems and minimise potential risks.

The Yellow Card Scheme was launched 50 years ago, following the thalidomide disaster in 1964, to act as an early warning system against potential side-effects and adverse reactions with UK medicines. All licensed and unlicensed medicines, whether issued on prescription or bought over the counter, are covered by the scheme, through which the MHRA collates and reviews all reports of suspected problems.

The scheme already has a one-stop website that patients, carers and healthcare professionals can use to make a Yellow Card report. This morning, life sciences minister George Freeman said the scheme was ‘moving into the digital age’ as he launched a free-access mobile app* to provide an easy and convenient alternative way of directly reporting side effects. People can also choose to use the app to track and receive news and alerts about any medicines or vaccines that they have selected.

George Freeman commented: “The Yellow Card Scheme has played a vital role in the safety of medicines for the last 50 years and the launch of this new mobile app brings it into the 21st century.

“By making the scheme accessible to researchers, healthcare professionals and millions of patients, it will not only improve the safety of reporting but ultimately better protect people’s health and support research in the NHS.”

With the app, users can:

  • create a ‘watch list’ of medications to receive official news and alerts on
  • view numbers of Yellow Cards received by MHRA for medicines of interest
  • see immediate response that shows Yellow Card has been accepted
  • submit updates to Yellow Cards already submitted
  • view previous Yellow Cards submitted through the app

Mick Foy, group director for MHRA’s vigilance and risk management of medicines division, said: “Moving Yellow Card onto a mobile app is a logical progression in this digital age, allowing us to build on the existing website to improve user engagement. It offers some good functionality to access further safety information, and it will continue to evolve over the course of the WEB-RADR project based on user feedback.”

* The app can now be downloaded from the iTunes App Store and Google Play for iOS or Android devices.

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