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Defining a new term: defensive hospital pharmacy practices
  1. Laura Villaverde Piñeiro1,
  2. Ana Isabel Cachafeiro Pin2
  1. 1 Pharmacy, Hospital Comarcal de Monforte, Monforte de Lemos, Spain
  2. 2 Pharmacy, Hospital Da Costa, Burela, Galicia, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Mrs Laura Villaverde Piñeiro, Pharmacy, Hospital Comarcal de Monforte, Monforte de Lemos, Spain; lvillaverdepineiro{at}

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Defensive medicine (DM) is a medical care practice which involves changing usual clinical practice to protect the interests of health professionals, ignoring the scientific evidence or therapeutic usefulness of health intervention claims and complaints from patients and/or families. This strategy involves both overuse of treatments (eg, prescription of unnecessary treatments or diagnostic tests, extension of hospital stays) as well as avoidance or limitation thereof, notably in terms of patients suffering from pathologies requiring a complex approach.1

DM has a clear impact on the fairness of the healthcare system, directly influencing effectiveness/efficacy, increasing wasted expenditure and compromising the safety of patients, exposing them to avoidable adverse events (AE).2

According to the …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.