By Kevin Pho
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Kevin Pho is an internal medicine physician based in Nashua, New Hampshire. He blogs at MedPage Today's KevinMD.com.

(CNN) -- When you visit the doctor, chances are you are given a prescription for a drug or an order for an X-ray or lab test. Before you leave, it's important to ask whether your doctor's recommendations are truly necessary.

Even though much of what physicians do is meant to help patients, sometimes it's not always the case. Drugs may have harmful side effects and tests have the potential for adverse complications.

Unnecessary tests and medications contribute significantly to our country's spiraling health costs. It's estimated that $700 billion of our $2 trillion annual health spending falls under the category of wasteful medicine.

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