Yellow Card Scheme

Module created January 2019

Introduction: Yellow Cards

All medicines can cause unwanted side effects in some patients. Many of these will cause little harm. However, some of these adverse drug reactions (ADRs) will be associated with significant morbidity or even mortality. For a medicine to be considered safe to prescribe, its expected benefits should be greater than the associated risks of harmful reactions. It is, therefore, vital to monitor the frequency and seriousness of ADRs for any given medicine.

ADRs may arise from the use of a product within or outside the terms of the marketing authorisation, e.g. from off-label use, medication errors, overdose, misuse, or abuse. In order to fully inform patients about the risks of treatment, it is important to keep monitoring medication for potential side effects.

In the UK we have the Yellow Card Scheme, a branch of the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), which monitors all suspected ADRs and updates medical literature and guidance accordingly. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to be vigilant in the detection of suspected ADRs and promptly report them via the Yellow Card Scheme.

This module will explore in detail the history behind the Yellow Card Scheme, the importance of pharmacovigilance and the practicalities of encouraging reporting within primary care and the general population.


This module has been developed by Dr Rebecca Ratcliff a GP in Cwmbran in association with Yellow Card Centre Wales, Canolfan Cerdyn Melyn Cymru


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