Blood PressureMedicationsNewsletter

Polypharmacy – time to cut drugs!

On May 13th (2015), an excellent initiative was launched with an article in the BMJ. The authors were: Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist; Dr Daniel Maughan, a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; James Ansel, a general surgeon from the Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy; Richard Lehman, Department of Primary Health Care, University Of Oxford; Alastair Henderson, Chief Executive of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; Sir Muir Gray, Director of Better Value Healthcare; Professor Terence Stephenson, former chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; and Dame Sue Bailey, current chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. That’s quite a team to jointly author a paper calling for a reduction in the harms of too much medicine.

The BBC covered the story here. The campaign is called “Choose Wisely” – following in the footsteps of the US and Canadian campaign of the same name.

“Choose wisely” asks medical organisations (such as the medical royal colleges in the UK) to identify commonly used tests or procedures, the necessity of which should be questioned. As the paper explains: “These are compiled into lists, and the “top five” interventions for each specialty should not be used routinely or at all.” The campaign has also been launched in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Paper calls to action

There are four calls to action at the end of the BMJ article, covering the four key areas where intervention choices are made: doctors; patients; medical schools and commissioners:


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