The New York Times Reports on a Study Analyzing the Effect of “Free Samples” where Health is Concerned
On April 18, 2014, The New York Times reported on a study published by JAMA Dermatology, which concluded that the practice of providing free samples to physicians favorably influences the number of prescriptions written for that drug. The research further supported that it is the pharmaceutical companies who win after a comparison of cost based on where the drug is prescribed.
The study was an analysis of prescriptions for adult acne medications that were prescribed by both an academic medical center, which prohibits samples, and a national database for dermatologists in private practice, which allows samples. 79 percent of dermatology offices wrote prescriptions for brand-name drugs despite the availability of generic options. Whereas only 17 percent of the medications prescribed by the medical center were for brand-names. Overall, the researchers concluded that “[f]ree drug samples can alter the prescribing habits of physicians away from the use of less expensive generic medications.”
JAMA Dermatology also found that the samples did not just drive up prescriptions, they also drove up costs. Researchers determined that the average cost of these acne medications was two-fold for privately treated patients. Senior author, Dr. Alfred Lane, recommended that physicians question the impact their written prescriptions have on the cost, as well as the quality of the medication their patients receive.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.