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ACA Makes it Harder for Patients to get Free Drug Samples

Pharmaceutical companies have cut their sales forces by nearly 30% and are cutting back on drug samples left in doctors' offices.  This makes it difficult for patients to try new drugs and for doctors to offer free samples to those who need them.

Pharma lists several reasons for the pullback:

  • Top-selling drugs such as Lipitor, Plavix and Seroquel are off patent in 2011 and 2012 and require less staff to sell. 
  • Many physicians are pressed for time and find little value in visiting with the drug detailers.
  • Medical schools bar doctors from accepting samples.

Perhaps the biggest underlying problem is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Beginning in April 1, 2012, drug makers must report to the Department of Health and Human Services all samples they distribute including the name, address, professional designation and signature of the requesting prescriber.  This alone could be enough to convince many doctors to skip the free samples.  Read more.