Every "free" sample (a doctor accepts) comes with a price.
by JONATHAN M. METSCH, DR.P.H., LLC
Aug 19, 2014 | 452 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Do drug company reps influence doctor prescribing practices?

A recent NPR article http://www.npr.org * noted “Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports….”

“The difference isn't chump change. When patients see a dermatologist who gets and gives free samples, the average cost of medicines prescribed is $465 per office visit. That cost drops to about $200 when patients see a doctor who can't hand out freebies, a team at Stanford University found.”

“The findings, published in the current issue of JAMA Dermatology, adds to the growing evidence that free handouts may influence doctors' prescribing habits — and the type of medications people request.”

One recent study found that more than a third of doctors surveyed say they sometimes prescribe a brand-name drug because a patient requests it, even when there's a generic available.

“Of course, all samples aren't bad. They can be a big help for patients who lack insurance or are on tight budgets. And some of the name-brand drugs come in a time-released formulation, which may be more convenient for some people.”

“But often, it's up to the patient to ensure their drug bill isn't getting an extra, unwanted bump.”

“So some physicians — in all specialties — end up prescribing an expensive branded drug when a cheaper alternate is available.”

* to read the full NPR article “Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds by Michaeleen Doucleff highlight then click on open hyperlink http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/04/16/303730781/free-drug-samples-prompt-skin-doctors-to-prescribe-costlier-meds?utm_campaign=KHN%3A+First+Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12529062&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--6McndNS2icKKGKVu98P3_-

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Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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