Collection of Yellow Card Scheme leaflets

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

These objects are representative of the printed leaflets that the Yellow Card Scheme circulates throughout the country. The Yellow Card Scheme is run by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to collect information on suspected adverse drug reactions. Any member of the British population can now complete a Yellow Card and inform the agency about reactions they have experienced to drugs on the market. Earlier iterations of the scheme only allowed doctors and nurses to report back, but this has been changed to ensure a larger number of correspondents.

The scheme monitors not only adverse reaction to drugs, but also medical devices, defective medicines, counterfeit medicines, and safety concerns surrounding e-cigarettes. The information is combined with that gathered from clinical trials, as well as from other international organisations, to identify any previously unknown safety issues. The reports are examined by scientists and medical professionals alike to ensure that a drug is as safe and effective as possible.

The scheme was created in 1964 by Bill Inman as a response to the thalidomide crisis of the late ’50s and early ’60s, during which period the use of thalidomide by pregnant women resulted in the death of 2,000 children, and birth defects in 10,000 other children.


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