A campaign has been launched to get members of the public to report any side-effects they experience after taking medicines.
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) wants pharmacists to promote and make better use of the "Yellow Card" scheme.
The scheme, which includes online reporting, was set up in 1964 in the wake of the Thalidomide tragedy. It has since helped detect dozens of unexpected side-effects. While drugs are heavily tested prior to release, some "adverse effects" may not be spotted, or the medicine may interact with other drugs or even foods in an unexpected way.
Reports on the Yellow Card scheme helped scientists find out that cranberry juice could weaken the effects of warfarin, one of the most commonly prescribed blood thinning drugs. In 2001, other Yellow Card reports revealed a connection between smoking cessation drug Zyban and seizures.
The MHRA also wants community pharmacists to file more reports on drug reactions to them.
Most of the 20,000 reports every year come directly from doctors, but only a few hundred from community pharmacists.
Source - BBC