Why Are Pharmaceutical Samples A Bad Idea?

Do you think pharmaceutical samples are good idea for you?


It’s Summer time and now more than ever local doctor’s offices are being bombarded with patients coming into their offices with everything from allergy issues, injuries, or even more uncommon diseases. Because of this, doctors are having to write countless amounts of prescriptions. However, there are often times where doctors have to provide you with samples before writing a prescription just to make sure certain medicines work for you and unfortunately these sample drugs are creating a problem that is proving to be more harmful than good to the consumer.

Currently, every country outside of the United States and New Zealand, prohibit direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising. Many opponents of this believe this is so because the FDA has fewer resources than they claim on ads.

Many have often combatted this by stating that most pharmaceutical ads are not about diseases that can kill you but instead are for things such as STDs, erectile dysfunction, and other lifestyle issues. Additionally, many people believe that any time a doctor accepts sample medications from pharmaceutical companies a moral problem occurs.

In a recent study, it was shown that Direct to Consume advertising rates will continue to increase over the coming years. Many people even argue that there are so many side effects for some of the medications that often times they are downplayed. To take it a step further, Zelnorm was allegedly determined to only be 5-10% more effective than most placebos on the market. Even though the risk was about .1%, the risk was still considered to be too high because of the limited effectiveness of the drug. The problem arose, however, when attractive women were seen simply lifting up their shirts and writing 'I feel better', which many considered constituted false advertising.

So what’s the real deal with pharmaceutical sampling? Well, it depends on who you ask. Often times sampling is done by major pharma companies as just a way to market and advertise medications and because of this many people are often misled. They are misled to think that certain medications work a certain way and that they are much more easily accessible than in actuality they really are.

How do We Combat Prescription Medicine Sampling?

In many ways, we have seen pharmaceutical sampling decline relatively quickly in doctor’s offices around the world. Suddenly doctors are now realizing just how unethical some of their practices are and instead of continuing to embrace them have decided to pursue alternative routes. This has not only forced many pharmaceutical companies to take alternate pathways to their marketing strategies but it has also given the FDA a chance to really see just how unethical many of these pharmacy to physical practices are.

According to a Cegedim Strategic Data study, the pharmaceutical industry has shown a definite trend in decreased support for samples between 2007 and 2011, with spending dropping from nearly $8.5 billion to about $6 billion, a 25% decrease. Drug details sent to doctors that included samples also dropped, from 70% in 2006 to 55% in 2010. The study also found that pharmaceutical sales reps are now a third less likely to meet with a physician intending to leave a sample.

There are a couple of notable exceptions. Samples given to new doctors with no prescribing history can increase the probability of leading to a prescription by 30% more than a doctor who received information only. Also, while generic drugs make up 80% of prescriptions in America, erectile dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis drugs remain patent-protected, so samples of these drugs still abound.

So will pharmaceutical drugs ultimately soon be gone forever? Only time will tell but what we can insure is that the government is cracking down like never before.

What are your thoughts on the pharmaceutical drug sampling industry? Do you feel as if there should be a thin line between doctors and their marketing practices? Leave your comments below and let us know your thoughts. 


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