Free Sample Closets More Common in Smaller Primary Care Practices

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven Woloshin, MD, MS Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine Professor, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

Prof. Woloshin

Steven Woloshin, MD, MS
Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine
Professor, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Industry spends more on detailing visits and free samples than any other form of prescription drug marketing.  There is good evidence that these activities can lead to more use of expensive new drugs over equally effective cheaper options.  Given these concerns there have been efforts by some hospitalls and practices to restrict these forms of marketing.

We asked physicians in group practices delivering primary care about how often pharmaceutical reps visit their practice and whether they have a free sample closet. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that about half of practices reported weekly detailing visits, and 60% reported having a free sample closet.  Both were more common in smaller practices, outside of systems and without academic affiliations

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Detailing visits and free sample closets remain common.  If reducing industry influence on prescribing is a priority, our findings indicate that further measures are needed, at least in practices delivering primary care, and particularly in smaller practices and those outside of health systems or academic settings.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We could not assess the content of detailing visits – for example, how do sales reps promote products or make comparisons to competing products, do they promote off-label uses.  Similarly, we could not assess which products were provided for free sample closets or how often and how they were distributed.

No conflicts of interest to report. 

Citation:

King AC, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S. A National Survey of the Frequency of Drug Company Detailing Visits and Free Sample Closets in Practices Delivering Primary Care. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 27, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6770

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Last Modified: Jan 27, 2020 @ 10:20 pm

 

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