GPs' prescribing is irrational, says Audit CommissionBMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6930.675 (Published 12 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:675
- A Tonks
Irrational and inconsistent prescribing by British general practitioners costs the NHS over £ 400m a year, says a report by the Audit Commission published this week. There are, it says, few limits to what and how much a general practitioner may prescribe, and although family health services authorities are supposed to keep general practice spending on drugs within preset limits, last year all English family health services authorities failed to meet spending targets.
The commission criticises the least cost conscious general practitioners for relying too heavily on drug treatment for minor complaints just to keep patients happy, for prescribing drugs that do not work, for prescribing expensive formulations that have no advantage over cheaper alternatives, and for being too quick to use new expensive drugs when older, cheaper ones are as effective.
Drugs being handed out to patients unnecessarily include antibiotics, drugs that heal ulcers, laxatives, tranquillisers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and drugs …