The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2011

What did the researchers say was the No. 1 most over-used activity by primary care physicians? Prescribing a brand-name cholesterol-lowering drug without trying a less expensive generic first, according to the research posted on-line by the Archives of Internal Medicine. Doctors' prescribing a brand-name statin, without first checking to see if a lower-priced generic drug would cut a patient's cholesterol sufficiently, results in $5.8 billion in excess health-care spending, according to the research letter published Oct. 1.The authors found $6.76 billion in what they said was non-recommended health-care spending after analyzing surveys of patient visits to certain primary care doctors' offices and hospital outpatient departments in 2009.

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