Free Drug Samples The Sales Rep’s Last Great Hope?
Free Drug Sample Gift BasketAccording to some sales reps, as of Jan 1 2009 — when PhRMA’s new Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals becomes effective — pharmaceutical reps will no longer be “permitted” to deliver any marketing materials to healthcare professionals, which would make free drug samples the only real form of in-office marketing.

Obviously, sales reps consider free drug samples an important marketing tactic that they can employ to gain access to physicians. In 2005, the pharmaceutical industry distributed more than $18 billion worth of drug samples.

But critics are concerned that drug samples increase costs, raise questions about the appropriateness of treatment choices, and create real or perceived conflicts of interest in the medical profession.

Between August 16, 2008 and November 13, 2008, Pharma Marketing News hosted a “Pharmaceutical Sampling Practices Survey” that asked respondents their opinions of drug sampling issues and whether or not the distribution of free drug samples should be banned. The results of this survey are summarized in this article.

Topic headings include:

  • Physicians Urged to Boycott Samples
  • Sample Safety Issues
  • Conflict of Interest Issues
  • Do Samples Increase Drug Costs?
  • Getting Around Formularies
  • Do Samples Help Indigent Patients
  • Are Samples Helpful in Prescribing the Correct Medication?
  • Physicians Value Samples, But…
  • Do Samples Increase Access and Benefit Sales?
  • Should Samples Be Banned?

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Issue: Vol. 7, No. 9: November 2008
Word Count: 4116

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