§ Mr. Etherington
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he proposes to take to increase the awareness of the yellow card scheme among medical and dental practitioners. 
§ Ms Jowell
The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) continue to investigate methods to increase the awareness of the yellow card scheme among medical and dental practitioners.
A survey of general practitioners was recently undertaken and consideration is currently being given to the findings. Steps that have already been taken or are planned include:Education:
- A forthcoming edition of "Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance" will include a special feature on what happens to reports of suspected adverse reactions and how they help to protect public health.
- The MCA and CSM representation and presentations at conferences attended by doctors and pharmacists.
- Encouraging Medical Schools to include adverse drug reactions and promote an understanding of the methods of drug safety monitoring as core parts of the curriculum.
- Publication of articles in medical and pharmaceutical journals.
Making yellow cards more widely available and easier to use and introducing alternative reporting methods eg fax, phone and electronic.435W
An electronic yellow card that automatically populates the fields of a pre-formatted yellow card and allows the GP to send the report directly to the MCA via a modem is already in use by a number of GPs.
Improving feedback on the scheme, including changing the format and content of the bulletin "Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance" and the MCA and CSM internet homepages.