A new commentary published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice reports that branded drug samples handed out by the pharmaceutical industry increase drug costs for everyone and compromise patient safety.
Emily Couvillon Alagha and Adriane Fugh-Berman present a collection of condemning research around branded drug samples that contradicts prevailing physician beliefs about the benefits of the practice. According to the authors, research has found that only drugs with the highest profit margin are sampled, that patients receiving samples have higher overall out-of-pocket costs for their healthcare, and that those with the most financial need are the least likely to receive samples.
This commentary joins a chorus of research that shows the pharmaceutical industry is willing to sacrifice public health for profits. The authors write:
“Samples are not a charitable activity but are instead a highly effective form of drug marketing. Samples remain the largest marketing investment among most companies. Pharmaceutical companies would not invest so much in optimizing sampling distribution if they did not see a return on investment from these strategies.”