It's been reckoned that just one in 60,000 side effects to drugs is ever reported - and finally the UK's drug regulator wants to do something about it. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) is urging patients to use the 'Yellow Card' reporting method, which has been almost completely ignored since it was introduced in 1964.
Usually the cards are completed and returned by doctors - when they have the time, and when they believe the drug is responsible for the adverse reaction. This second reason has prevented many serious effects from being discovered early enough, usually because the doctor will refer to the original data sheets that list known side effects.
But now drug regulators want patients to do the job themselves. You can download a 'card' here.
(Source: BBC, February 18, 2008).