Free drug samples may be costly in the long run, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford. For the study the researchers worked with a team of dermatologists to see how free samples impact their prescribing practices.
Main aim of the study was to know how the free samples influence decision power of dermatologists when they write the prescriptions. They chose to focus on prescriptions of patients with a new diagnosis of adult acne.
After assessing the data, researchers found that 18% of all prescription by dermatologists in 2010 came with a free sample in comparison to 12% in 2001. Quite a stark contrast was witnessed when prescriptions from doctors of other specialties were assessed. Only 4% of their combined prescriptions came with a free sample in 2010 and down from 7% in 2001.
Researchers said the four acne medications most often prescribed with a free sample were Differin, Duac, Benzaclin and Retin-A Micro. These medicines were also the four most prescribed drugs as well in 2005.
Though the list of top five acne drugs kept on changing between 2001 and 2010, the favorite drugs were the ones that doctors had available for free in their offices. “Prescribing preferences are at least in part related to what is contemporaneously available as free samples”, said the researchers of the study.