GPs will be able to report adverse drug reactions directly to the MHRA from practice IT systems by next year.
The agency will also launch an internet awareness campaign outlining the dangers of obtaining medicines from unregulated websites. Last month, GP revealed that one in four GPs had treated patients for adverse reactions to medicines bought online (GP, 17 April).
As part of business and corporate plans set out last week, the MHRA revealed ideas to work with Connecting for Health (CfH) on the introduction of direct-to-database reporting of adverse drug reactions from practice IT systems.
Direct reporting is being introduced because there had been under-reporting of adverse drug reactions from GPs under the existing yellow card scheme, an MHRA spokeswoman told GP.
There had been a decline in reporting from GPs in recent years and the new scheme aims to address this, she added.
Discussions have taken place with CfH and system suppliers about the best approach to incorporating direct reporting.
Final plans will be brought together over the next few months and the agency hopes to have a scheme in place by next year, the spokeswoman said.
The agency also plans to continue to expand its primary care research. Expansion will focus in particular on the ExEtrac service, details of which were exclusively revealed by GP earlier this year (GP, 20 February).
The service allows patient records to be downloaded from surgeries to evaluate the safety of new drugs being launched in primary care.
The MHRA has also revealed that it is to develop a dedicated section of its website for GPs and to work with professional bodies and royal colleges including the RCGP, on education and training programmes.
It said it wants to ensure that education and training programmes contain suitable content on safety issues in the prescribing and use of medicines.
The agency is also looking at identifying, by March next year, what legislative changes may be needed to tackle the problem of counterfeit medicines.
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