As the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) launches ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) welcomes its aim to encourage more men to take a more active interest in their medicines, by engaging with local pharmacies about medicines use and wellbeing.

This initiative will provide an opportunity for men to discuss with their pharmacists possible side effects from their medicines and the MHRA is keen for patients and pharmacists to report these via the MHRA’s dedicated Yellow Card reporting scheme.

The MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme is used to collect information from both healthcare professionals and the general public on suspected side effects from their medicines.

Yellow Cards are an important information source which is used by the MHRA as an early warning system to help identify unrecognised adverse reactions; reports are also used to refine the understanding of risk factors that may affect the clinical management of patients. Currently, only 35% of Yellow Cards contain information about medicine side effects in men.

The value of the Yellow Card Scheme has been demonstrated many times and it has helped to identify numerous important safety issues.


Yellow Cards are continually assessed by our team of experts and are used alongside a variety of other data sources to monitor the safety of medicines and help protect public health.

We are grateful for the role pharmacists have played in this area in the past and would encourage them to continue assisting us in this hugely valuable area of information about the safety of medicines by reporting possible adverse reactions at:

Colette McCreedy, Specialist in Self Medication at the MHRA said: “Pharmacists are uniquely placed to promote patient safety and have many opportunities to discuss, identify and report suspected adverse reactions particularly when providing clinical services, such as medicines use reviews (MURs) and the new medicine service (NMS).”

Mike Holden, NPA Chief Executive said: “Community pharmacy has an important role to play in promoting the Yellow Card scheme to patients and public.  A central message of this year’s ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ is that a face-to-face discussion with the pharmacist can be key to safer and more effective medicines use. The New Medicine Service in England provides an ideal opportunity to identify and report adverse drug reactions.”


Posted on the UK MHRA website on 5 November 2012