The over-prescription of medicines in Europe, particularly for the elderly, is becoming chronic, according to a study conducted by Salzburg Medical University, Austria.

The study found that 36% of prescriptions given to patients with an average age of 82 were unnecessary, while 30% of drugs prescribed were found to be inappropriate.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) conference, EFHG president Guenther Leiner said that these unnecessary medical treatments need to be confronted head-on.

“This trend leads to a number of problems, including a difficult ethical situation for many doctors,” said Leiner.

This year’s EHGF conference plans to tackle the issue by examining potential strategies in combating unnecessary prescriptions, including personalised medicines and health technology assessments.