The drug samples that pharmaceutical reps give out seem like a great idea to some--particularly when it comes to helping poor patients get their drugs. But more and more doctors' offices and medical centers are refusing to accept such samples.
While at first glance they seem like a great way to give patients a chance to try a treatment for free, or to help a low-income or uninsured patient to be able to get a more expensive drug, researchers are starting to notice that they tend to end up costing more money in the long run.
Samples are usually only available for more expensive drugs, and the samples don't last forever. Patients are then given a prescription for the drugs, which often don't come in generic versions, and then left trying to make ends meet when they have to pay for these expensive new drugs.
Some doctors have discovered that when they eliminated their samples closet, they started prescribing a lot more generics. And some medical centers that have banned the samples have found ways to make up for patients who can't pay for the initial prescription by giving them vouchers for nearby pharmacies.
To learn more about who's banning samples:
- read this USA Today piece