An article in Modern Medicine’s Medical Economics discussed growing opposition among some doctors to the use of drug samples. Samples can lead, in some situations, to newer, more costly medications being prescribed. That costs patients money. On the other hand, having samples on hand for patients to try can help them see if the medication is one they want to buy. For some medications, samples help doctors show patients how to use a medication; this is particularly helpful with the creams, ointments, foams, sprays and other types of products commonly used in my dermatology practice.
Banning samples may sound like a good idea to some, but perhaps the issue is best handled on a case-by-case basis. There’s good reason to believe that having samples can help improve patient satisfaction and patient outcomes and don’t necessarily have to lead to use of inappropriately costly medication when a less costly medication would work.