Is drug sampling—when physicians give samples of prescription medicines provided by pharmaceutical companies to their patients—good or bad? Is the answer different for dermatologists than it is for other physicians?
Many dermatologists have already answered those questions: “bad” and “no.” Numerous institutions have banned or sharply restricted drug sampling, including the Veterans Health Administration, the US military, many universities, and Kaiser Permanente. Many private clinics have done so as well. Other organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Institute of Medicine, and the Joint Commission, have also recommended curtailing and/or controlling drug sampling. But those questions linger in other medical settings, including many private practices not subject to institutional antisampling policies.