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Adverse reactions: getting the best from the yellow card system

Abstract

Yellow cards provide the Committees on Safety of Medicines (CSM) and Dental and Surgical Materials (CDSM) with their major source of information on the occurrence of adverse drug reactions. Of the many forms of post-marketing surveillance now in use, it is the most widely applied and probably the cheapest. Three-quarters of the 23,000 reports received by the Committees in 1978 and 1979 were through the yellow card system. However, probably only 10% of serious adverse reactions are reported to the Committees.1 Why is reporting reactions important, and how can doctors help to make the system work better?

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