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Safety measures and the Early Access to Medicines Scheme

Find out about safety measures, drugs that are available, and what to do if you want an Early Access to Medicines Scheme drug.


The drugs in the EAMS scheme are new. So researchers are still finding out about how well they work and what side effects they cause. This means you may have side effects that are not yet known about.

To keep a check on how well the new medicine works and its side effects the company provides regular updates to the MHRA. The company has to do this as part of their agreement to be able to supply the medicine. They give reports at least every 3 months but for some drugs it might be more often.

Reports to your doctor

Your doctor will give the pharmaceutical company information about the results of any tests and side effects you have. If you have any serious side effects your doctor, nurse or pharmacist need to report them within 24 hours. They should report any other effects within 5 days.

Patient Alert Card

Your doctor will also give you a Patient Alert card. You should carry this card with you at all times. The card has information about the drug you are taking and its known side effects. It has the contact details for your cancer doctor and specialist nurse.

Which drugs are available on EAMS

This scheme started in early 2015 and the MHRA has only looked at a few drugs.

What to do if you want an EAMS drug

Talk to your doctor if you think that an EAMS drug is suitable for you. If you want to have an EAMS drug and your doctor agrees, your doctor applies to the manufacturer and your local NHS.

You are likely to be very disappointed if you can’t have the drug that you want. This can be difficult to come to terms with. You might feel a range of emotions, including anger. It can help to talk to your specialist and get them to explain why you can’t have the drug.

Talk to your specialist about whether other new experimental treatments might be available. You can search our clinical trials database for open trials in the UK.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.