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Tackling overprescribing: striking the right balance
  1. Teck K Khong
  1. Clinical Pharmacology, St George's University of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Teck K Khong, Clinical Pharmacology, St George's University of London, London SW17 0RE, UK; tkhong{at}

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A recent government-commissioned report highlighting the extent of overprescribing in the UK has estimated, based on limited evidence, that at least 10% of medicines prescribed in primary care may be overprescribed.1 The report used the term overprescribing to refer to situations ‘where people are given medicines they do not need or want, or where harm outweighs benefits’. Examples include prescribing a medicine when a better alternative is available, that is not appropriate or that is no longer required.

The problem of overprescribing will not come as a surprise to practitioners, who commonly encounter …

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  • Competing interests None declared. Refer to the online supplementary files to view the ICMJE form(s).

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.