Exclusive: MHRA may allow drug reaction reports from social media

Drug reaction reporting from smartphones, Facebook and Twitter is being considered after the success of a scheme allowing direct reporting from GP practice IT systems.

The MHRA is now ‘actively working on introducing other ways of reporting to make it easier and encourage more reporting’.

Mick Foy, group manager for vigilance and risk management of medicines at the MHRA, told GP: ‘Applications for smartphones, improved web reporting forms and the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook are being carefully considered as potential routes for reporting.’

Valid reports have to contain information on the drug, reaction, patient and reporter, and allow the agency to follow-up reports, he said.

‘It is important to consider the structure of the information for inclusion on our database, something Twitter and Facebook do not easily lend themselves to.’

Plans to expand submission of yellow cards follow the agency’s launch of direct reporting from practice IT systems in order to increase reports from GPs.

The 1,100 GP practices using the SystmOne IT system can use a yellow card reporting feature that interacts directly with the MHRA database.

Mr Foy said the MHRA had now received 1,008 yellow cards direct from practice IT systems and expected to receive another 500 by the end of 2011.

‘In 2010, a total of 2,237 yellow cards were received directly from GPs by all reporting methods,’ he said.

‘An additional 1,500 yellow cards from SystmOne will mean more than a 60% annual increase.’

Mr Foy said the MHRA was now in discussions with the government IT agency NHS Connecting for Health and individual GP IT system providers about introducing electronic yellow card reporting into other GP systems.

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