Skip to main content

Drugs (Surveillance)

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 7 December 1982

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether progress is being made towards providing family medical practitioners with a computerised system of drug surveillance and drug side-effect monitoring; and whether such a system could eventually replace the yellow card system now being used.

The yellow card system of drug surveillance is itself partly computerised as the information submitted on the yellow cards is held and analysed on a computer in our Department.Experiments are taking place with more fully computerised systems, where practitioners may communicate directly with the computer through a Viewdata system using a modified TV set. These systems are used at present to disseminate information to the practitioners, but it is possible to incorporate the means whereby the doctor could also report information to the computer system via the TV set.We are also considering, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry, an application for support, under the Information Technology Year scheme, for a computer system which would include drug surveillance and monitoring and, eventually, two-way communication with the doctors.These experiments and proposals are designed to work in parallel with the yellow card system. The costs and benefits of introducing any such computer system on a larger scale would have to be thoroughly analysed and assessed before the yellow card system could be totally replaced as the hon. Member suggests.