Personal Use of Drug Samples by Physicians and Office Staff
Westfall, John M.
Nicholas, Richard A.
JAMA. 1997 Jul 9; 278(2): 141-143.
CONTEXT: Pharmaceutical samples are commonly used in ambulatory care settings. There is limited research on their use or impact on health care providers and patients. OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent of personal use of drug samples over a 1-year period by physicians and medical office staff. DESIGN, SUBJECTS, AND SETTING: An anonymous cross-sectional survey of all physicians, resident physicians, nursing staff, and office staff in a family practice residency. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Quantity of drug samples taken for personal or family use. RESULTS: Of 55 surveys issued, 53 (96%) were returned. A total of 230 separate drug samples were reported taken in amounts ranging from 1 dose to greater than 1 month's supply. Two respondents reported no use of drug samples, while 4 respondents reported taking more than 10 different samples. CONCLUSION: Drug samples are commonly taken by physicians and office staff for personal and family use. The ethical implications of this practice warrant further discussion.
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