Free Drug Samples

Some medical centers are banning them. Here's why:

  • "In 2004, drug makers handed out free samples to U.S. doctors with a retail value of nearly $16 billion." [link]
  • "But samples spur doctors to prescribe these more expensive brand-name drugs." Without samples, "doctors were three times more likely to prescribe less-expensive generics to uninsured patients." [link]
  • Also, "most samples go to insured patients," [study gated, but with abstract] rather than to people who need financial help.

Full story here.

Comments (3)

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  1. Larry C. says:

    The drug company theory is: give away the first pills for free, get the patient hooked on the expensive brand, and then they will pay retail price for a therapy that could have been purchased for a fraction of the cost by using generics.

  2. Bruce says:

    I think the bottom line here is pretty clear. Samples increase the likelihood that uninsured patients will end up buying expensive drugs. Without samples, the likelihoood is that they will use generics.

  3. Devon Herrick, National Center for Policy Analysis says:

    American drug makers are frequently criticized for supplying physicians offices, free office supplies, complimentary lunches and other perks to boost sales. The best known promotion is the ubiquitous free drug samples provided for doctors to hand out to patients.

    But, today’s PharmaTimes details the story of an Italian drug supplier who is accused of bribing doctors and pharmacists with prostitutes and cash in return for writing bogus prescriptions, that were then reportedly charged back to the
    Italian health service.

    The story goes on to claim that other pharmaceutical companies were in on the scam.

    Read the full story here: