What are Promotional Samples Samples are packets of a by Buick


									What are

Samples are packets of a few
tablets of new, brand-name
medications that pharmaceuti-
cal company salespeople leave
at your doctor's office as a
way to promote new product
                                                                                                                  Why is My
lines. They usually do not
contain more than a few
doses. If you have ever used
samples, you know that it
takes several packets to cover
even one month’s supply.
                                                                                                                  the Use of
Pharmaceutical companies                                                                                         Promotional
hope that if a patient starts
taking a sample of a new drug,
the physician will continue to
                                 The Unbranded Doctor Campaign of the National Physicians Alliance
                                 represents a network of physicians across America who believe that
                                 medical offices should not accept or display free promotional products
                                 from industry salespeople. Even small gifts have been shown to influence
write a prescription for that    medical decision-making and undermine best practice.
drug after the sample runs
                                 To join our campaign, visit www.npalliance.org.
out. There are no generic
samples. Once a drug loses       To learn more:
patent protection, its samples
                                 National Physicians Alliance                      www.npalliance.org
                                 The Prescription Project                          www.prescriptionproject.org

                                 American Medical Student Association              www.amsa.org
 Why is Our Practice Restricting Samples?

• Having patients “try out”       • Research shows that samples          Frequently Asked Questions
the latest medicine rather than   are given more often to people         What am I supposed to do now if I
take one with a long safety       with health insurance than to          can’t afford my medicine? Many
record is riskier; the new drug   those without—including physi-         Americans earn too much money to
may later be found to have        cians’ families, friends, and office   qualify for medical assistance but not
serious side effects.             staff.                                 enough to pay for health insurance or
                                                                         prescriptions. Ask your doctor about
• Though “free” at first,         •   Promotional samples encour-        available drug assistance programs.
samples do not really save        age the use of the newest medi-
                                                                         What if I need to try a new
patients money; co-pays for       cations, which are often no bet-
                                                                         medication and don’t want to pay
new medicines are often higher,   ter than an established version of
                                                                         the co-pay for a small supply? If you
and you’ll end up paying more     the same drug, and which may be        and I (as your physician) want to try you
in the long run.                  more expensive.                        on a new medication, I will write you for
                                                                         a full-length prescription. Most drugs
• The cost of promotional         •   As your doctor, I want to
                                                                         are well tolerated. If the drug doesn’t
samples is passed on to con-      prescribe the safest and most
                                                                         work for you, simply notify the practice
sumers in the form of higher      effective medication for you at
                                                                         and flush the remaining pills.
prices for brand-name drugs.      the lowest cost. Helping pro-
Patients in the U.S. pay more     mote new industry products is          What if I disagree with this policy?
                                  not the job of the physician.          Our practice is following the lead of a
for prescriptions than in any
                                                                         number of large hospitals and medical
other country, with the result
                                                                         societies in adopting this policy. We
that poor and elderly people do
                                                                         believe it is in the best interest of our
not always have access to the                                            patients to limit the influence of
medicines they need. In short,                                           marketing on medical decision-making.
samples are not really free.                                             We are happy to talk with you about it.

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