A free mobile app has been launched today for the “yellow card” scheme to help health professionals and patients report drug safety issues.
Users can also select specific medicines or vaccines to track and receive news and alerts about them.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the new yellow card smartphone app could be used by patients, carers and healthcare professionals.
“Moving yellow card onto a mobile app is a logical progression in this digital age”
It described it as “easy to use” and that it provided a “convenient alternative” to using paper forms or the yellow card scheme website.
Its key features, said the MHRA, included the ability to create a “watch list” of medications to receive official news and alerts on, and the ability to view the number of yellow cards received for specific medicines.
Mick Foy, group director for the MHRA’s vigilance and risk management of medicines division, said: “The contribution of patients, careers and healthcare professionals alike in reporting suspected side effects to the yellow card scheme is vital.
“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,” he said.
“It offers 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,” he added.
“It will not only improve the safety of reporting but ultimately better protect people’s health”
The yellow card scheme, introduced in the wake of the thalidomide disaster in 1964, has become a cornerstone of the UK’s medicines monitoring system, acting as an early warning for potential side-effects and adverse reactions.
Life sciences minister George Freeman said the launch of the app would bring the 50-year-old reporting scheme 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,” he said.
The app has been created in collaboration with the Innovative Medicines Initiative WEB-RADR project, a large-scale public-private partnership between the European Commission, national regulators, academia, small and medium-sized enterprises and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations.