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Aust Fam Physician. 2007 Mar;36(3):187-8, 192.

Is your sample cupboard relevant to your practice?

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Discipline for General Practice, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.


Sample medications represented 4% (3.8 million Australian dollars) of the Australian general practice promotional budget of pharmaceutical companies in the second quarter of 2005. In the United States, general practitioners have been shown to use sample medication in up to 20% of encounters both for commencing and for full treatment. Given the USA does not have a universal subsidy for medications like Australia, sample use may be higher than Australian GPs operating with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Australian GPs perceive benefits for samples as a trial run: to test patient tolerability, enhance patient satisfaction, and for those who cannot afford multiple trials of drugs. Acceptance of samples by GPs is associated with preference for and rapid prescription of new drugs and positive attitudes toward pharmaceutical representatives. Concerns with sample medications include prescribing medication that is not the GP's preferred choice owing to the limited range of samples available. Other concerns include dispensing expired medication and wastage of medications.

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