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Overprescribing of medicines must stop, says government

PUBLISHED

Many patients are being prescribed unnecessary and even harmful treatments, a new report warns.

The review, in England, suggests one-tenth of items dispensed by primary care are inappropriate or could be changed. Around 15% of people take five or more medicines a day - some are to deal with the side-effects of the others.

The government is appointing a prescribing tsar to help with the issue and stop waste.

Overprescribing can happen when:

  • a better alternative is available but not given
  • the medicine is appropriate for a condition but not the individual patient
  • a condition changes and the medicine is no longer appropriate
  • the patient no longer needs the medicine but continues to be prescribed it.

Chief pharmaceutical officer for England, Dr Keith Ridge, said: "Medicines do people a lot of good and this report is absolutely not about taking treatment or services away from people where they are effective. But medicines can also cause harm and can be wasted."

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Source: BBC News, 22 September 2021

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