All prescribers have a personal and legal responsibility to ensure that the most appropriate items are selected to meet the needs of the patient in a safe and cost-effective manner. The legal responsibility for prescribing always lies with the person who signs the prescription. It is dangerous to prescribe on the recommendation of a third party (even another health professional) if the prescriber has not seen the patient. By considering cost in relation to not only product selection, but also quantities prescribed, the prescriber should demonstrate financial responsibility. This should only be considered after the needs of the patient have been identified, when selection between alternative products with a similar action, but different cost, may be an option. Cost should never be the primary consideration.
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