Three in four physicians accept drug samples

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 15, 2011

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Despite criticism of the practice by opponents of pharmaceutical marketing, 77% of physicians accept drug samples to give to their patients, according to a telephone survey of 168,834 medical offices representing about 480,000 doctors.

The survey results, released in August by the physician profiling firm SK&A, found variation in drug-sample acceptance by physician group size. The more doctors in the physician group, the less likely the group was to take samples. Groups of five doctors or fewer took samples 76% of the time, compared with an acceptance rate of 54% among groups of 10 to 20 doctors.

Critics argue that most drug samples wind up going to insured patients and are used by drugmakers as a marketing technique to promote use of their products. The 23% of physicians who don't take samples is about the same proportion of doctors who refuse to see pharmaceutical sales reps, the SK&A report said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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