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Yellow card reports may lead to 'designer drugs'

GPs' yellow card reports could soon be used to help pharmaceutical companies develop new medicines.

The Government's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is to conduct an independent review of dissemination of data relating to adverse reaction reports.

Dr Jeremy Metters, former deputy Chief Medical Officer, who will lead the review, said: 'The data could be used to unlock the potential for so-called designer medicines.'

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said it was 'eager to participate' in the review as the data could help identify genetic pre-dispositions to drug side-effects.

Dr Richard Tiner, director of medicine at the ABPI, said the information was of 'great value to the pharmaceutical industry', but patient confidentiality was 'paramount'.

The Department of Health said: 'The genetics issue wasn't considered when the yellow card scheme was set up. The data has a lot of commercial value and we're looking at where to draw the line.'

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